Foreign investors bought a net 1.3 trillion won (US$1.15 billion) worth of South Korean stocks last month. Accordingly, foreign ownership in the domestic stock market stood at 545.7 trillion won (US$482.07 billion), hitting a fresh record high.
According to the Financial Supervisory Service on May 17, foreign investors net purchased 1.27 trillion won (US$1.12 billion) worth stocks of companies listed on the main bourse KOSPI and secondary KOSDAQ markets last month. As foreigners bought mainly large-cap stocks on the KOSPI market, their net purchases of stocks traded on the KOSPI market reached 900 billion won (US$795.05 million), which is three times higher than 300 billion won (US$265.02 million) on the KOSDAQ market.
By region, European investors were on domestic stock buying spree, while investors in the U.S. and Asia sold the stocks. U.S. investors held 227.3 trillion won (US$200.8 billion) worth of local stocks, accounting for 41.7 percent of the total foreign holdings, followed by investors in Europe with 153.5 trillion won (US$135.6 billion), in Asia with 69.7 trillion won (US$61.57 billion) and in Middle East with 24.8 trillion won (US$21.91 billion). Foreign ownership of local stocks accounted for 32.7 percent of the total.
Foreign investors’ bond holdings stood at 100.1 trillion won (US$88.43 billion) as of the end of April, recovering the level of January last year of 101 trillion won (US$89.22 billion). Foreign ownership of going public bonds also accounted for 6.1 percent. Asian investors held 41.2 trillion won (US$36.4 billion) worth of going public bonds, taking up 41.2 percent, followed by investors in Europe with 34.6 trillion won (US$30.57 billion), or 34.6 percent, and in the U.S. with 13.1 trillion won (US$11.57 billion), or 13.1 percent. Foreigners spent 1.3 trillion won (US$1.15 billion) in government bonds.