BOGOTA, Colombia

The stocks in South America have plunged as the COVID-19 spreads with rates of infection increasing rapidly outside of China.

Regional stocks slumped, in line with global markets.

The benchmark MSCI Latin America stock index fell 13.71% on Monday, down 44.20% since the start of the year.

Brazil’s Bovespa index dropped nearly 14%, the Colombian Stock Exchange gave up as much as 10.50% while those in Chile and Argentina lost 14.11% and 10.4%, respectively.

Most South American currencies have weakened in volatile trade as coronavirus fears worsened risk appetite and pushed investors to seek refuge in the dollar.

Read more: South American markets hit all-time lows amid COVID-19