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Funds investment increases but skews away from stocks

South Korea's funds market grew big in size, gaining some 100 trillion won ($8.73 billion) in just two years, but the gain has not been all healthy with bigger lumps of money going to non-stock investments, industry data indicated Thursday.

The Korea Financial Investment Association put the country's net fund assets at a record amount of 500.63 trillion won as of Friday. The value had just surpassed 400 trillion won in March 2015.

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

A detailed look, however, showed that the largest sum of 28.84 trillion won went to money market funds over the two years, mostly chosen for money-in-waiting when investors are uncertain about other tools. Bonds-based funds gained 26.4 trillion won.  Special assets funds increased by 20.27 trillion won while real estate funds rose by 19.79 trillion won.

Stock funds, contrarily, shed more than 11 trillion won during the period to 66.2 trillion won.  Basket funds for stocks lost 2.32 trillion won, and those for bonds 1.26 trillion won.

The trends persisted in recent months. Compared to end of February, money market funds gained by nearly 8 trillion won.

Special assets funds increased by 2.4 trillion won and real estate funds by 1.6 trillion won. Stock-invested funds lost 768 billion won, data showed.

Financial market watchers say such imbalance is one of the root causes that are holding back the local stock market. After rising to 2,100 points line, the market has been fluttering as investors kept selling on gains.

"Stock fund investors became fixed to realizing their gains early because the stock market has been boxed in since the latter half of 2011," Kang Hyun-chul, an executive at NH Investment & Securities Co., said. "Overall, the fund market has entered a transformation stage to shift to new asset investments." (Yonhap)

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