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[OIL IMPACT] KOSPI falls below 2,000 level for first time in 2 weeks

[THE INVESTOR] South Korean share prices started the morning on a bearish note following an overnight plunge in crude oil prices.

On Aug. 3, the benchmark KOSPI opened half a point lower than the previous day, and at one point fell below the 2,000 mark for the first time since July 14 when it ended at 1997.94 points. The tech-heavy KOSDAQ declined to below 700 points.

As of 9:50 a.m., the KOSPI traded at 1995.03 points, 1.19 percent lower. The index recovered some ground as the morning wore off, trading at 2,004.18 points as of 11:46 a.m. 

See also: Oil price drop fuels deflation concerns

Analysts attributed the declines to low crude oil prices. Overnight, the WTI for September delivery traded at US$39.51 per barrel, down 1.4 percent from the previous day, before recovering to the US$40 level later on. It marked the first time for the benchmark crude oil to fall below US$40 since April this year. Concerns about an oversupply were cited as fueling the plunge.

Back in Korea, foreigners and institutional investors sold off more than a combined 156.4 billion won (US$140.43 million) worth of stocks in the early morning session. Retail investors, however, are loading up on over 138 billion won worth shares.

A bearish sentiment is sweeping across the board, with chemicals down 1.4 percent, transportation equipment down 1.97 percent and securities down 1.6 percent.

By Kim Ji-hyun (