Foreign buyers snap up $3.64B of local equities

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Foreign buyers snap up $3.64B of local equities

Foreign investors turned to net buyers of local stocks last month, fueled by swelling global liquidity as the U.S. fiscal cliff concerns eased, the financial regulator said yesterday.

Overseas investors scooped up a net 3.87 trillion won ($3.64 billion) worth of local equities in December, from a net 617 billion won sell-off the previous month, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

Compared with a year earlier, offshore investors bought a combined net 17.6 trillion won in 2012, from a net sell-off worth 9.6 trillion won, it noted.

The December net purchase came as European and U.S. investors increased their bets in Korean markets to a net 2.13 trillion and 1.43 trillion won, respectively, the FSS said.

European investors resumed their buying binge last month after dumping a net 794 billion won a month earlier.

The value of their shareholdings reached 411.6 trillion won as of the end of December, with their portion of stock ownership coming to 32.2 percent of the total market cap, up from 31.7 percent the previous month, the watchdog said.

France led the stock purchase in December with a net 1.01 trillion won, putting it in the top spot for 2012 with a total of 3.3 trillion won.

China trailed, extending its buying streak for a fifth consecutive month to post a monthly record of 694 billion won, the FSS said.

Foreign ownership of local bonds also hit a record monthly high of 91 trillion won last month, from 88.9 trillion won in November, led by more sales of bonds aimed at stabilizing liquidity.

Foreigners bought a net 1.9 trillion won worth of bonds, with the U.S. and Hong Kong as the biggest investors. They invested a net 1.49 trillion won and 999 billion won, respectively, according to the regulator. Yonhap

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