Foreign selling reaches 15 tln won in S. Korea this year

SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) — Foreign investors have sold nearly 15 trillion won (US$12 billion) worth of South Korean stocks this year through mid-May as they fled to safe haven assets amid growing stagflation worries, the country’s main bourse said Sunday.

From Jan. 1 through Friday, foreign selling stood at 14.8 trillion won on the country’s two main bourses — 11.8 trillion won on the main Korea Exchange (KRX) and 3 trillion won on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ, according to the KRX.

Of the massive sell-off, foreigners mainly offloaded Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s biggest memory chip maker, and LG Energy Solution Ltd., South Korea’s leading car battery maker, the main bourse said.

They sold 5.1 trillion won worth of Samsung Electronics stocks and 2.9 trillion won of LG Energy Solution shares during the cited period.

Foreigners reorganized their investment portfolios by reducing equities and other assets perceived as risky and increasing safe haven assets amid global monetary tightening and rising interest rates.

Institutional investors also sold 9 trillion won worth of local stocks, including 6.08 trillion won of Samsung stocks. The massive selling weighed on the benchmark KOSPI and the tech-heavy KOSDAQ indexes.

But individuals’ stock purchases valued at 24 trillion won helped keep the main index from falling further. Individuals bought 11 trillion won worth of Samsung stocks during the same period.

Shares in Samsung Electronics fell 13 percent to 68,000 won and LG Energy Solution stocks shed 14 percent to 434,000 won during the mentioned period. They far outperformed the broader KOSPI’s 11 percent and KOSDAQ’s 15 percent losses.

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