Seoul stocks open lower amid rate hike, China economic slowdown woes

An electronic chart showing Korea’s Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) in a trading room at Hana Bank’s headquarters in Seoul last Monday. (Yonhap)

South Korean stocks opened lower on Tuesday as investors remain wary of the U.S. central bank’s hawkish monetary tightening stance and China’s economic slowdown amid its COVID-19 lockdown.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 9.6 points, or 0.36%, to 2,683.5 at 9:15 a.m.

Investors are worried about possible rapid rate hikes as the US Federal Reserve has repeatedly signaled aggressive tightening policy to counter inflation.

There are fears that China’s continued lockdown in Shanghai due to rising infection cases could disrupt the global supply chain and slow down the Chinese economy, which would hamper global economic growth.

Overnight, US stock markets plummeted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.19% and the S&P500 fell 1.69%. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose to 2.77%, the highest since early 2019.

On the Seoul Stock Exchange, large-cap technology and battery stocks fell to lower the index.

Market leader Samsung Electronics lost 0.44% and major battery maker LG Energy Solution fell 1.06%.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix traded flat and LG Chem fell 1.57%.

Leading automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.28%, but its subsidiary Kia fell 0.52%.

The local currency was trading at 1,234.90 won against the US dollar, down 1.8 won from the close of the previous session. (Yonhap)

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