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Korean, Asian Stock Markets Plunge in Unison

Posted October. 09, 2008 03:06,   


The Korean and Asian stock markets plummeted yesterday despite government efforts to prevent the global economic crisis from spreading further.

Korea’s benchmark KOSPI index hit its lowest level this year, falling 79.41 points (5.81 percent) to close at 1,286.69. The figure was also the lowest since 1,279.08 on July 26, 2006.

Japan`s benchmark Nikkei 225 average plunged 952.58 yen (9.38 percent) to close at 9,203.32 yen, its biggest single-day drop since October 20, 1987 when it plummeted 14.9 percent and the third biggest in Japanese history.

Worse, the closing figure was the Nikkei’s lowest since June 30, 2003.

The Japanese index at one point fell 9.81 percent due to the freefall in the U.S. stock market Tuesday and investors dumping stocks due to worries over global economic jitters.

Back in Korea, the KOSPI suffered its second-largest fall this year, following the drop of 6.1 percent September 16. The decrease was also the sixth largest in the Korean market’s history in points.

The tech-heavy KOSDAQ index dropped 30.48 points (7.58 percent) to close at 371.47, setting a new low since December 28, 2004 when it dropped to 370.77.

In Hong Kong, financial authorities slashed their key interest rate 100 basis points, but the Hang Seng plummeted 8.17 percent. China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 3.04 percent and the Taiwan Stock Exchange 5.76 percent.

Other Asian markets were also rattled, with India’s down 8.16 percent and Indonesia’s plunging 10.38 percent.

The British daily Financial Times said Asia’s stock markets have fallen for five consecutive days due to jitters that more financial institutions will collapse.

European stock markets were no different. Despite the U.K. government’s announcement of a 50-billion pound bailout, the FTSE fell 5.21 percent in early morning trading.

Germany’s DAX benchmark index fell 6.06 percent to below 5,000 and France’s CAC-40 dipped more than six percent.

In Russia, the government imposed a one-hour suspension as the RTS index fell 11.25 percent in the first 30 minutes of trading. A two-day suspension was placed on the ruble-denominated MICEX, which nosedived 14.35 percent.

will71@donga.com jefflee@donga.com