Foreign direct investment to South Korea surged to an all-time high last year amid active joint ventures and investments in high-tech industries fueling Asia’s fourth largest economy.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on Wednesday the country received $22.9 billion worth of FDI commitments in 2017, up 7.7 percent on year. This marks the third straight year for foreign capital investments to surpass the $20 billion mark.
FDI pledges in the first three quarters of 2017 were down 9.7 percent on year at $13.6 billion. But the number hit a record quarterly high in the final quarter at $9.36 billion.
South Korea managed to maintain a high credit rating despite geopolitical tensions over North Korea’s nuclear threats, said the ministry. Increased investment in industries related to the fourth industrial revolution and growing demand in real estate and retail sectors also contributed to the jump in capital inflows.
The largest investor was the United States with its investment up 21.5 percent from a year ago at $4.71 billion. Japan followed, with its FDI pledges up a whopping 47.9 percent on year at $1.84 billion as the country’s robust economic growth triggered a wave of merger and acquisition activities.
Capital inflows from China dropped 60.5 percent to $810 million. Investment from the European Union also slid 4.5 percent to $7.06 billion.
Job-generating greenfield, or facility, investment rose 4.5 percent on year to hit a record high of $15.7 billion. M&As also rose 15.4 percent to $7.24 billion on increased joint ventures.
By Ko Jae-man and Kim Hyo-jin
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