SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- Foreign investors continued to scoop up South Korean shares last month despite escalating trade tension between Seoul and Tokyo that could undermine South Korea's exports down the road, central bank data showed Friday.
In July, foreigners bought a net US$1.74 billion worth of local stocks, marking a sharp acceleration from a $220-million net purchase in June, according to the data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).
"The inflow of global stock funds (into South Korea) expanded despite Japan's export restrictions," the BOK said in a press release.
Japan's began implementing tougher restrictions at the start of last month on three key materials used in the production of semiconductors and display panels, both key South Korean exports that together account for more than one quarter of all its outbound shipments.
The operator of Seoul's main bourse, Korea Exchange, earlier said foreign investors purchased a net 1.3 trillion won ($1.07 billion) worth of shares of Samsung Electronics, Seoul's largest chipmaker, along with some 660 billion worth of shares of No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix in July alone.
South Korea's exports have dropped for eight consecutive months since December, largely due to the prolonged trade dispute between the United States and China, the world's two largest economies and also the largest importers of South Korean products.
Foreigners offloaded a net $310 million worth of local bonds in July, marking a sharp turnaround from a net purchase of $4.56 billion the month before, amid increased volatility in the foreign exchange market, according to the BOK.
The local currency closed at 1,214.90 won against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, down 5 percent from 1,154.70 won at end-June.
Meanwhile, the BOK said the daily turnover of foreign exchange between banks came to $24.26 billion in July, down from $27.86 billion the month earlier.
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