South Korea’s benchmark Kospi bourse would have retreated 1.7 percent from the beginning of the year, if not for Samsung Electronics, again underscoring the weight of the most valuable Korean company on the local market and economy.
According to the Korea Capital Market Institute on Thursday, Kospi added 5.9 percent to 2,162.18 as of Nov. 15 from last year’s closing of 2,041.04. But if it counts out Samsung Electronics, the main index would have lost 1.7 percent during the period.
The Kospi 200, the index of Korea’s top 200 equities, added 9.7 percent this year but the index excluding Samsung Electronics fell 2.4 percent.
Foreigners net purchased 4.9 trillion won ($4.15 billion) worth of Kospi 200 shares, of which 4.7 trillion won went to Samsung Electronics.
“Foreign capital mostly was devoted to chips as Korean Inc. stocks were generally unappealing this year, ” said Jang Geun-hyuk, a researcher at the Korea Capital Market Institute. “Future rise and fall of the index without Samsung Electronics depends on the local economy,” he added.
The think tank also was negative in prospects for the economy. Asia’s fourth largest economy is expected to show a slow recovery with 2.2 percent growth next year, it said.
“The maximum potential for the economy’s growth is estimated at 2.3 to 2.4 percent for this year, lower than the earlier estimates by the Bank of Korea,” said Kang Hyun-joo, a researcher at the think tank.
The institute expected the central bank would deliver a rate cut next year to visit a new historic-low level of 1 percent. The bank cut the benchmark rate twice this year.
Kospi will likely move in the range of 2,150-2,350 next year with an inflow of foreign capitals and improvement in returns, but the gains won’t big on a feeble economic growth, said the think tank.
By Chung Seok-hwan and Lee Ha-yeon
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