S.Korean financial markets hit hardest on political turmoil in Libya

20:57, February 22, 2011      

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By Yoo Seungki

South Korea's financial markets were hit hardest as the political turmoil in Libya hurts appetite for riskier assets, analysts said Tuesday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 35.38 points, or 1.76 percent, to 1,969.92, the lowest level this year.

South Korea's won sharply fell 9.50 won, or 0.9 percent, to 1, 127.60 won against the U.S. dollar, rising above the 1,120 won mark for the first time in four trading sessions.

Benchmark five-year bond yields slid 9 basis points to 4.32 percent while the liquid three-year treasury note yields slumped 7 basis points to 3.89 percent.

Fears on South Korea's economic slowdown and accelerating inflationary pressures emerged across the local financial markets as geopolitical tensions, starting from Tunisia and Egypt, spread to Libya, Africa's largest oil reserving nation.

Dubai crude, a standard for Asia's fourth largest economy, surpassed 100 U.S. dollars per barrel overnight on the spot market for the first time since September 2008. Price for Dubai crude oil in the spot market closed at 100.36 dollars a barrel Monday, according to the Korea National Oil Corporation.

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