The Korea Herald


Emerging market woes send Kospi to 15-month low

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Aug. 13, 2018 - 18:20

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South Korea’s stock markets sank Monday on emerging market instability triggered by the sliding Turkish lira coupled with negative investor sentiment toward listed Korean biotech companies.

(The Korea Exchange) (The Korea Exchange)
The top-tier Kospi dipped 1.5 percent to close at 2,248.45, the lowest since May 4, 2017, following a foreign sell-off of 172.5 billion won ($152.2 million). The second-tier Kosdaq shed 3.7 percent to close at 755.65. Foreign and institutional investors net sold shares worth 158.1 billion won on Kosdaq.

Kim Young-hwan, an analyst at KB Securities, cited a sell-off by investors to avoid fallout in Korean markets from currency volatility in Turkey and Russia.

The Turkish lira nose-dived 14 percent against the US dollar Friday, in part because of ongoing trade tensions with the United States. On Wednesday, the Russian ruble fell over 3 percent against the greenback to a two-year low.

Such foreign exchange woes in emerging markets come alongside the strengthening dollar and persisting trade war threat between China and the US, he said.

“The eurozone bank’s exposure to Turkey has resulted in a global flight to safety,” Kim wrote.

“While US-China trade conflict persists, the emerging market woes in will trigger a stronger dollar, which would restart foreign investor flight from Korea.”

Moreover, reports with a “sell” opinion on Korean biopharma companies such as Celltrion and Hanmi Pharm. added to the market’s downward pressure. Kospi-listed Celltrion slipped 4.2 percent, while Hanmi Pharm. plummeted 7.4 percent. The KRX health care index dropped 4.2 percent.

By Son Ji-hyoung