Foreigners turn into massive net sellers of Korean stocks, renew debt buying in Aug

2019.09.09 11:22:32 | 2019.09.09 14:16:16

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Foreigners have cashed out of Korean stocks while renewing their debt holding amid expectations for a rate cut in Korea last month.

The Financial Supervisory Service said Monday foreigners net sold 2.34 trillion won ($1.96 billion) worth of Korean stocks in August, the largest after the net sale of 2.92 trillion won in May.

The biggest sellers were Britain and the United States, respectively unloading 772 billion won and 764 billion won of stocks. They were followed by Luxembourg (327 billion won), Saudi Arabia (226 billion won) and France (223 billion won).

Malaysia stood as a net buyer, purchasing 88 billion won of local stocks. The Virgin Islands and the Netherlands bought 77 billion won and 75 billion won each. Japan stood on the buying side with net 41 billion won.

Offshore investors held 526.5 trillion won worth of Korean stocks as of last August, making up 33.3 percent of the total market cap. The U.S. topped the list with 226.6 trillion won, accounting for the lion’s share of 43.0 percent. Britain followed with 41.1 trillion won (7.8 percent), Luxembourg with 33.3 trillion won (6.3 percent) and Singapore with 30.4 trillion won (5.8 percent). Japan and China carried 12.3 trillion won and 10.8 trillion won, to take up 2.3 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

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Foreigners bought 9.4 trillion won of Korean bonds and sold 4.4 trillion won worth in August. When factoring in the 3.3 trillion won of maturing bonds, Korean bonds saw 1.7 trillion won of net investment. Foreigners had net sold 421 billion won in July.

By region, Asia showed the biggest purchase at 2.3 trillion won, followed by the Middle East and Europe at 400 billion won each and North America at 20 billion won.

As of last August, foreigners held 125.9 trillion won of local bonds, or 7 percent of all bonds in circulation, hitting another record high after the 124.5 trillion won in June.

Asia was the top buyer at 53.5 trillion won, with a share of 42.5 percent. Europe followed with 44.3 trillion won (35.2 percent) and North America with 11.3 trillion won (9.0 percent).​

By Jin Young-tae and Kim Hyo-jin

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