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Korea’s stock market cap falls fifth-fastest in Jan.

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Jan. 28, 2022. (Yonhap)
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Jan. 28, 2022. (Yonhap)
South Korea ranked fifth among 47 countries globally in the drop in stock market capitalization between December last year and January this year, amid US Fed rate hike worries, a local brokerage said Wednesday.

The country’s benchmark Kospi and junior Kosdaq stood at about $1.9 trillion in market value on Jan. 26, down from $2.1 trillion on Dec. 31, 2021, in a 10 percent fall, according to Daishin Securities, which cited Bloomberg data. Russia saw the greatest drop at 16 percent, followed by Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands.

The global equity markets tumbled roughly 7 percent in overall market value to $113.15 trillion in the same period. Advanced markets like the US, UK, Germany and Japan had all dropped, though Hong Kong saw its stock exchange gain nearly 2 percent, the data showed.

“The reason Korean shares saw a bigger fall was that investors here fear reduced liquidity coming from the US Fed, which has eyes set on raising the rate and killing the pandemic support sooner than expected,” said Oh Tae-dong, head of research at NH Investment & Securities.

Yoon Ji-ho, head of research at eBest Investment & Securities, said downbeat corporate earnings added to the gloomy outlook for the Kospi, which he said could slid as far as 2,490. 

The benchmark index closed at 2,663 Friday. Last week, it slipped to 2,792, the first time it dipped below 2,800 since Dec. 23, 2020.

Yoon said the local market would rebound as soon as uncertainties involving the rate hike get resolved, but was wary of a dramatic recovery given the persistently high inflation forcing central banks around the world to tighten monetary policies.

Meanwhile, local game maker Krafton marked the biggest fall over a month in its shares among Kospi-listed companies, with shares trading at 274,500 won as of Friday last week, down 40 percent from 460,000 won in December last year.

The decline is greater than that of Hyundai Development Co., a local builder whose chairman had to step down over recent fatal accidents critics say were caused by lax oversight of construction sites. The builder saw its shares plunge 36 percent in the same period.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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