Foreign investments hit record

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Foreign investments hit record

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Foreign investors’ holdings in the Korean stock markets surpassed 500 trillion won ($439.6 billion) last month for the first time.

The investors currently account for 32 percent of market capitalization, or 502 trillion won of the total, the Financial Supervisory Service said Monday.

“Foreign investors net bought 1.78 trillion won worth of stocks just during January and continued their buying spree of 1.73 trillion won recorded in December last year,” said Ham Yong-il, an official at the FSS. “The data shows that foreign investments were focused on blue chips such as Posco and Hyundai Motor.”

Investments by foreigners have continued to grow, and rose 19.2 percent in January when compared to 421 trillion won in investments in December 2015.

Investors from the United States net bought 1.4 trillion won in stocks last month and were followed by investors from other Asian countries, who purchased 0.4 trillion won. Investments from European countries, on the other hand, dropped 0.3 trillion won and for Middle Eastern countries fell 0.2 trillion won.

Among the stocks owned by foreign investors, Americans accounted for 41.1 percent, or 206.5 trillion won. It was followed by 142.3 trillion won from European investors and they accounted for 28.4 percent of the total stocks owned by foreigners. Asian investors accounted for 64.1 trillion won and Middle Eastern investors owned 25.1 trillion won.

In January, foreigners net purchased or invested 1.66 trillion won in listed bonds, the first time since July that the figure was positive.

“It appears that their investment in the bond market has risen as exchange rates have become more stable when compared to the past,” said Ham at the FSS.

Investments in the bond market coming from Asian countries rose 1 trillion won from the previous month and was followed by European countries at 0.4 trillion won. Asian investors accounted for 39.8 percent of the total bonds owned by foreigners, or 36.2 trillion won worth of bonds.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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