A net selling by foreign investors in stocks traded on South Korea’s main board Kospi since January has reached 11.96 trillion won ($8.6 billion) Thursday, according to data from the Korea Exchange Monday.
The data showed shares of Samsung Electronics accounted for a little over 9 trillion won, with Naver, LG Energy Solution and Kakao roughly making up the remaining purchases at over 1 trillion won, respectively.
That contrasts sharply with a net buying by individual investors, who in the same period bought 22.55 trillion worth of stocks. Samsung Electronics was their top choice as they snatched up shares worth just over 17 trillion won in total value. Tech firms Naver and Kakao were next in line, with purchases valued at approximately 2 trillion won and 1 trillion won, respectively.
Foreigners, who hold roughly one-third of benchmark stocks, are pulling out of the market as fears over higher US interest rates to come and a potential global slowdown loom large. The Kospi slipped to 2,384.28 Thursday, having lost 20.22 percent or 604.49 points from 2,988.77 on Jan. 3, the first session of the year.
Analysts say recouping losses made so far would not be easy, noting a 2,500-2,600 level as the ceiling for the Kospi for 2022.
“Corporate earnings are deteriorating and that’s making a rebound harder,” said Kim Hyoung-ryoul, head of research at Kyobo Securities.
Echoing a similar sentiment, Kim Hak-kyun, head of research at Shinyoung Securities, cited a potential slowdown in the global economy following a rate decision by the US Federal Reserve at its Sept. 20-21 meeting.
The US central bank could soften the pace of its aggressive rate hike campaign in November and December, but that would not be enough to calm recession worries, Kim noted, adding a potential China slowdown was another factor influencing the Korean stock market.