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Seoul: Stocks, won skid to multi-week lows on trade war fears


[SEOUL] South Korean shares dropped by the most in about six years on Friday, amid mounting fears of a global trade war after Beijing unveiled plans for tariffs on US imports in retaliation to protectionist measures by the United States.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed down 3.2 per cent at 2,416.76 points, lowest since March 7. It was also the biggest daily per centage loss since May 2012.

The won also fell to a more than three-week closing low of 1,082.2 to the dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade. It was down 0.9 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,072.7.

As a major trade partner of both the United States and China, South Korea - Asia's fourth-largest economy - would be hit hard if there is a full-blown trade war between the two nations, analysts said.

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On a weekly basis, the benchmark stock index and the won fell 3.l per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively, their largest weekly loss since early February.

Market heavyweights saw sharp drops, with Samsung Electronics down nearly 4 per cent and steelmaker Posco losing 5.5 per cent.

Foreign investors offloaded a net 131.7 billion won (S$160.2 million) worth of KOSPI shares for the day.