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Seoul: Stocks post biggest weekly drop since 2008

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South Korean shares settled about 3.5 per cent lower on Friday and posted their biggest weekly drop since the 2008 financial crisis, as panic over the coronavirus outbreak led to a rout in global stock markets.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares settled about 3.5 per cent lower on Friday and posted their biggest weekly drop since the 2008 financial crisis, as panic over the coronavirus outbreak led to a rout in global stock markets.

Earlier in the day, domestic shares plunged 8.4 per cent to a near 10-year low, triggering circuit breakers on the main index for the first time in nearly two decades.

The benchmark KOSPI closed down 62.89 points, or 3.43 per cent, at 1,771.44. For the week, it plunged 13.2 per cent, the sharpest since October 2008. It has fallen 19.4 per cent so far this year.

Foreigners sold a net US$1.02 billion worth of shares on the main board.

The country's president held a rare meeting with top economic officials, including the central bank governor and the finance minister, to discuss the impact of the outbreak.

After a separate emergency meeting of top economic officials, the finance ministry said the Bank of Korea and financial regulators agreed authorities should cooperate in deploying fiscal and monetary policies to tackle an economic crisis.

The Bank of Korea separately said its seven-member committee was discussing whether to hold a rare inter-meeting review to cut policy interest rates to a new record-low. The bank has not delivered an emergency rate cut since October 2008.

REUTERS