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South Korea: Stocks close the week lower on virus fears

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South Korean shares fell 1.5 per cent on Friday after trade data showed a slump in Chinese demand and as new coronavirus cases spiked in the country.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares fell 1.5 per cent on Friday after trade data showed a slump in Chinese demand and a spike in new coronavirus cases in the country.

The main benchmark KOSPI fell 32.66 points, or 1.49 per cent, to 2,162.84. For the week, the KOSPI lost 3.60 per cent.

The KOSPI has fallen 1.58 per cent so far this year, but gained 0.9 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 619.27 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 905, the number of advancing shares was 107.

South Korea's exports to China slumped in the first 20 days of February and overall sales per working day tumbled as a virus outbreak disrupted global supply chains and threatened to put a choke hold on Asia's fourth-largest economy.

China's commerce ministry said January and February exports and imports will be hit by the epidemic that has severely disrupted the world's second-largest economy.

The South Korean government on Friday reported 52 new cases of the fast-spreading disease, after it confirmed the first death in the country on Thursday, taking the national tally to 156.

REUTERS