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Foreign investors net purchase W3.73tr in Korea-listed stocks

Foreign investors in South Korea continued to purchase more locally listed stocks while offloading bonds last month, the latest data on foreign investors’ stock and bond ownership by the Financial Supervisory Service showed Monday.

Foreign investors net purchased some 3.73 trillion won ($3.32 billion) in locally listed stocks during January, continuing the transition to net buying observed in December last year, according to the FSS.

By region, Europe net purchased 1.7 trillion won in stocks, while the US net purchased 1.5 trillion won of listed stocks. Meanwhile, Asia net sold 200 billion won of stocks while the Middle East net sold 100 billion won of listed stocks.


By country, the US was the strongest buyer of Korea’s listed stocks, with 1.5 trillion won in net buying. Singapore was the biggest seller, with 400 billion won in net selling.

As for bond transactions, foreign investors net sold some 1.64 trillion won worth of listed bonds in January, offloading a total of 3.74 trillion won. As of end-January, they owned 110.2 trillion won worth of bonds, accounting for 6.4 percent of Korea’s total listed bonds.

They appeared to have switched to a selling stance on bonds in January, after having maintained an investment-driven stance for two consecutive months from November 2018, the financial regulator said.

By region, Europe was responsible for the highest net bond outflow of 2.2 trillion won, followed by the US with 1.3 trillion in net bond outflow.

As a whole, foreign investors from Asia possessed 47.8 trillion won worth of bonds in January, accounting for 43.4 percent of the total. Europe held listed bonds worth 37.1 trillion won (33.7 percent) while Americas held bonds worth 9.3 trillion won (8.4 percent).

Meanwhile, the cumulative holdings of listed stocks by foreign investors came to 567.2 trillion won as of end-January, taking up 32.3 percent of the market cap of locally listed companies. Their net bond holdings in the month came to 110.2 trillion won, representing 6.4 percent of the total listed bonds in Korea.

Taken together, foreign investors owned 677.4 trillion won of listed securities last month, the FSS said.

By Sohn Ji-young (