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Duty-free shares suffer decline amid new coronavirus fear

Dealers monitor exchange rates in a trading room at KEB Hana Bank. (Yonhap)
Dealers monitor exchange rates in a trading room at KEB Hana Bank. (Yonhap)
Shares in South Korean duty-free operators took a hit amid concerns that the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus may hurt the companies’ revenues from Chinese visitors, data showed Thursday.

Hotel Shilla closed at 97,000 won ($83) on Thursday, down 10.6 percent from Friday’s closing price of 108,500 won.  

Shinsegae fell 4.37 percent over the cited period to finish at 306,500 won. Lotte Shopping also tumbled 4.76 percent to close at 130,000 won.

On Monday, South Korea reported its first confirmed case of Wuhan coronavirus as a Chinese visitor who landed at Incheon International Airport tested positive for the disease.

China said Thursday that the virus has killed 17 so far, with over 570 citizens confirmed to be infected, amid concerns that the pneumonia-like illness is spreading quickly and widely.

Beijing pledged on Wednesday to pool all of its resources to contain the further spread of the disease, especially since many people have time off till the end of the month so they can visit family and friends.

Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States have also reported confirmed cases of the disease.

Local analysts, however, say that the stock price adjustment will be limited.

"As were seen in the MERS and the SARS cases, stock markets rebounded as soon as the virus stopped spreading," Kiwoom Securities analyst Park Sang-joon said.

The country’s health protection agency said that 16 suspected cases have been reported in the country so far. All 16 people were released from isolation after tests indicated that they did not have the virus. (Yonhap)

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