Thursday saw a significant downturn in the South Korean stock market, with the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index ( KOSPI ) and the secondary KOSDAQ index both experiencing notable losses. The KOSPI slid by 1.75%, losing 44.77 points to close at 2,514.97, while the KOSDAQ index fell by 2.5%, shedding 22.04 points to finish at 860.68.
This downturn came in the wake of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to maintain its key rate steady at between 5.25% and 5.50%. However, the Fed signaled a potential additional rate hike later this year, a move that has been interpreted as a hawkish outlook on its monetary policy.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell explained the stance, stating, "We are prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and we intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we are confident that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our objectives."
Consequently, the Asian stock markets underperformed overall due to concerns over the lengthening of the United States' monetary tightening stance," according to Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co.
Major shares in Seoul fell across the board. Samsung Electronics (KS: 005930 ) lost more than 1% to close at 68,900 won, while SK Hynix dropped 1.27% to finish at 116,500 won. Battery makers also experienced losses with LG Energy Solution falling 2.5% to 487,000 won and Samsung SDI plunging 4.44% to 538,000 won.
Auto shares were not spared either, with Hyundai Motor (OTC: HYMTF ) retreating by 1.54% to end at 191,900 won and its affiliate Kia dropping by 1.97% to close at 79,800 won.
The downturn also affected the Korean won, which ended at 1,339.70 won against the U.S. dollar, down 9.6 won from Wednesday's close. Bond prices also closed lower, with the yield on three-year Treasurys adding 4.0 basis points to 3.930% and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds advancing 5.7 basis points to 3.973%.
The news of the Fed's hawkish stance comes after a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, and follows a decrease in U.S. stocks, with the S&P 500 dropping almost 1% and the Nasdaq Composite plunging 1.53% amid a slide in tech giants, including Apple Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL ). and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA ) Inc.
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