Asian Markets Slide; KOSPI Plunges More Than 3% as New Virus Case Soar By

© Reuters.

By Alex Ho – Asian markets slid on Monday morning, with South Korea’s KOSPI plunging more than 3% after the country raised its infectious-disease alert to the highest level after a 20-fold increase in cases.

China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.3% by 10:42 PM ET (02:42 GMT), while the SZSE Component inched up 0.1%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index dropped 1.6%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.4%.

South Korea’s KOSPI plunged 3.2%. The number of infections in South Korea soared from just 30 to almost 800 in the past week, while at least seven people died from the virus.

The Bank of Korea will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon to discuss the virus impact, as some expect the central bank to reduce its benchmark rate to support the economy.

Meanwhile, the government is reviewing all possible measures, including an extra budget, Bloomberg reported citing local media.

The epidemic poses a “large concern that it will limit the trend of economic recovery started late last year,” First Vice Minister Kim Yong-beom said.

Kim noted that domestic consumption and exports to China have dropped due to the virus outbreak.
In other news, finance officials from the world’s 20 biggest economies on Saturday called for a coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund predicted would pull down China’s growth this year to 5.6% and cut 0.1% from global growth.
“But we are also looking at more dire scenarios where the spread of the virus continues for longer and more globally, and the growth consequences are more protracted,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

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