South Korea’s stock bourses lost as much as 125 trillion won ($105.5 billion) in May alone, with 308 stocks plunging to fresh annual lows as investors turn jittery about the Korean Inc. as the result of prolonged and widening trade war between the United States and China.
According to the Korea Exchange (KRX), the nation’s sole stock exchange operator, Monday, 129 firms listed on the main Kospi bourse and 180 on the secondary Kosdaq market touched their 52-week bottoms in May, or 14 percent of 2,242 publicly trading companies.
The number of stocks reaching the lowest price in 52 weeks last month increased 31-fold from the previous month when just 10 companies saw their share price hit a 52-week bottom. It was even more than January this year when shares of 86 Kospi-listed and 101 Kosdaq-listed companies refreshed 52-week lows.
On the Kospi market, companies including Celltrion, Posco, Samsung C&T, SK, Samsung Life Insurance, SK Innovation, CJ CheilJedang, Lotte Shopping, Emart and Kolon sank to new lows in May. The list on the Kosdaq bourse included Celltrion Healthcare, CJ ENM, Paradise, Com2us, GS Home Shopping and SM Entertainment.
Due to the sagging investor sentiment hit by the worsening tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, which are also export-reliant Korea’s two biggest trade partners, the Kospi plunged 7.3 percent in May and the Kosdaq 7.7 percent from the previous month. The outlook is still grim because the U.S.-China trade war has been showing no signs of easing.
The nation’s stock markets lost 124.7 trillion won on month to 1,595.6 trillion won at the end of May, according to KRX. The Kospi market shaved off about 102.8 trillion won from its total market capitalization and the Kosdaq 21.9 trillion won. It was the largest loss since last October when 263 trillion won was wiped off from the markets.
On Monday, the benchmark Kospi market closed 1.28 percent higher at 2,067.85 and Kosdaq 0.15 percent up at 697.50.
By Chung Seung-hwan and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]