Foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Korea for the first three quarters of this year totaled US$19.2 billion with a year-on-year increase of 41.4 percent. The annual total is expected to exceed US$20 billion for the fourth consecutive year.
The FDI in the manufacturing sector increased 101.7% to US$8.38 billion, led by that in the chemical sector related to semiconductor manufacturing. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said that investment for special industrial gas supply showed a conspicuous increase with regard to finished goods manufacturing related to semiconductors and displays. In addition, cobalt-related metal processing attracted an increasing FDI, with FDI from China to the metal industry skyrocketing from US$2 million to US$114 million.
The FDI from the EU, which accounts for 26.7% of the total, rose 63.1% to US$5.13 billion. Likewise, those from the United States and China rose 41% and 292.7% to US$4.09 billion and US$2.39 billion, respectively.
“The increase in FDI can be attributed to a global economic recovery and reduced geopolitical risks surrounding the Korean Peninsula,” the ministry explained, adding, “Favorable investment conditions are continuing in the form of monthly exports that topped US$50 billion for five months in a row, the best-ever sovereign credit rating, and booms in major industries like semiconductor and petrochemical.” The FDI in South Korea hit an all-time high of US$22.9 billion last year and this year is likely to become another record-breaking year.