The sell-off in global markets turned toward Asia on Monday, with stocks across the region plunging in trading as worries grow over slowing growth in China and signs that the U.S. will ease back on stimulus measures.
Shares in Seoul slumped to a five-month low to start the week.
The benchmark KOSPI dropped one-and-a-half percent to close at 19-10 after dipping as low as 18-99 at one point, its lowest level since August last year.
Indexes in other countries met similar fates.
The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped one-and-a-half-percent to a four-and-a-half month low, while Japan's Nikkei dropped two-and-a-half-percent to 15-thousand, the lowest closing level since mid-November as the yen touched a seven-week high against the greenback.
The declines first hit developing economies, with the currencies in Argentina, Turkey and South Africa depreciating to new levels not seen in years.
Experts attribute the sell-off from investors growing wary of tightening credit conditions in China as Beijing seeks to curb growth.
The capital flight is also being fueled by expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will decide to taper an additional 10 billion U.S. dollars off their bond-buying programsduring their two-day policy meeting that begins on Tuesday.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
ANCHOR LEAD OUT: Korean stocks inched down upon opening on Tuesday. As of around 10am, the benchmark KOSPI was trading at ______, down ____ points or ____ percent from Monday's close