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South Korea: Stocks plunge 4.2% on virus panic

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The benchmark KOSPI index closed down 85.45 points, or 4.19 per cent, to 1,954.77, marking the biggest daily drop since Oct 2018.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares plunged more than 4 per cent on Monday as investors raced to safer assets, fearing the economic damage from the coronavirus epidemic, and as oil prices plummeted over 30 per cent.

The benchmark KOSPI index closed down 85.45 points, or 4.19 per cent, to 1,954.77, marking the biggest daily drop since Oct 2018.

Foreigners coughed up a net US$1.09 billion worth of shares on the main board, the biggest since Nov 2010.

"KOSPI's movement today showed foreign investors' panic selling as plummeting oil price and virus spread across the United States and Europe stoked fears," said Seo Jung-hun, analyst at Samsung Securities.

The number of people infected with coronavirus topped 107,000 across the world, while South Korea reported 69 new infections and one death as of early Monday, raising the national tally to 7,382 cases and 51 deaths.

The KOSPI has fallen 11.05 per cent so far this year.

REUTERS