The Korea Herald


Stocks of major firms plunge over coronavirus spread

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : March 15, 2020 - 13:04

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Major listed South Korean firms have seen a sharp drop in market capitalization by losing a combined 174 trillion won ($142 billion), down more than 20 percent, in the last 52 days, according to latest data Sunday.

Local corporate tracker Korea CXO Institute surveyed the share price of 100 listed Korean companies -- top five in 20 industries -- between Jan. 20, when the first confirmed coronavirus case was reported here, and Thursday, after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

According to the data, the market cap of the 100 listed companies fell by 19.4 percent from 895 trillion won to 721 trillion won during the period.

The tech industry saw the biggest drop. Market cap of the top five electronics companies surveyed fell from 465 trillion won to 379 trillion won. In March alone, the world’s largest memory chipmakers -- Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix -- lost 33 trillion won.

The market cap of automobiles, petrochemicals and finance declined by more than 10 trillion won, the report showed. The metal and steel industry, information and communications technology, and electricity and gas also saw their corporate value fall by more than 5 trillion won.

Other industries that saw their market cap drop by more than 1 trillion won include construction, distribution, machinery, food, transportation and logistics, and airlines and shipping.

In the last 52 days, the stock prices of listed companies in Korea have suffered a deep dent, data showed.

The hardest-hit have been shipbuilding and heavy industries. Shares of the top five companies in the sector plunged 32.4 percent on average. The share price of Hyundai Mipo Dockyard slipped 37.2 percent from 48,300 won during the period.

“Following the outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome around the end of May 2015, stock prices of major listed companies in Korea could not recover for a year,” said Korea CXO Institute Director Oh Il-sun.

“Considering that the COVID-19 outbreak is worse, domestic stock prices could to recover after a year or six months. However, if the stock market turns around in early April, the market may stabilize faster than expected.”

By Shin Ji-hye (