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Foreign stock ownership dips to lowest since 2009

All News 11:55 January 17, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has suffered the largest outflow of foreign stock funds in more than six years as China's stock market rout and plummeting oil prices added uncertainties in the financial market, data showed Sunday.

Offshore investors held 403.12 trillion won (US$331.78 billion) worth of stocks in the main KOSPI and tech-laden KOSDAQ markets as of Friday, according to the data compiled by the Korea Exchange (KRX).

Their ownership accounted for 28.7 percent of the total, the lowest since August 2009, the bourse operator said.

Foreign ownership fell below 30 percent for the first time in four years in July ahead of the highly anticipated U.S. interest rate increase. It further declined following China's stock market fall and tumbling oil prices at the beginning of this year.

This year alone, foreigners have dumped 1.6 trillion won worth of stocks, bringing the market index below 1,880 points for the first time in nearly four months.

Market watchers expect the bear market to continue as foreign investors are fretting about the impact of plummeting oil prices and a stronger dollar on emerging economies, including South Korea.

"Foreign investors are not expected to come back to the local market any time soon due to lingering uncertainties in emerging markets, caused by a stronger dollar and ultra-low oil prices," said Kim Sung-hwan, a researcher at Bookook Securities.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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