Foreigners hold about 12 percent of South Korean stocks, valued at nearly 34 percent of the market cap.
According to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) on October 11, foreign investors held 9.159 billion stocks in the main and secondary markets as of the end of last month, equal to 12.3 percent of the total of 74.296 billion listed stocks.
Their holdings break down as 7.129 billion stocks in the main market KOSPI and 2.029 billion stocks in the secondary market KOSDAQ.
In terms of market cap, foreign ownership in South Korean stocks accounted for 33.8 percent of the total. Foreign investors are heavily inclined to high-priced stocks. They owned 568.41 trillion won (US$500.8 billion) in the KOSPI market and 27.11 trillion won (US$23.89 billion) in the KOSDAQ.
Foreign investors prefer portfolio investments rather than direct investments. In terms of the number of shared owned, portfolio investments accounted for 89.6 percent in the KOSPI market and 78.2 percent in the KOSDAQ market. Only 4 percent of their market cap holdings were portfolio investments in the main bourse. In the KOSDAQ, 78.5 percent were portfolio investments.
A total of 44,356 foreign investors were registered with the FSS as of end of last month, including 10,937 individuals and 33,419 institutional investors. The latter includes 20,723 funds, which take up the most. By nation, the United States accounted for 33.2 percent, with 14,717 investors.