SEOUL, Oct. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's stock prices fell 6.91 percent on-quarter in the third quarter due to uncertainty over the U.S. tapering of asset purchases, marking the first quarterly decline since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, data showed Sunday.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) ended at 3,068.82 on Sept. 30, down 227.86 points from 3,296.68 on June 30, according to the bourse operator Korea Exchange.
It marked the first quarterly fall since the January-March period of 2020, when the KOSPI declined 20.15 percent from three months earlier.
The stock market remained bearish in the third quarter due largely to anticipation that the Federal Reserve may make a sooner-than-expected rate hike amid the fast recovery of the U.S. economy, analysts said.
The Fed said last month it is likely to start to taper its bond buying soon and signaled it may hike the key rate as early as next year. The outcome was largely in line with market expectations, but economic policymakers here warned of a potential increase of market volatility over the U.S. tapering issue.
Foreign investors sold a net 10.2 trillion won (US$8.6 billion) worth of local stocks in the third quarter, while retail investors bought a net 16.1 trillion won.
South Korea's stock prices jumped 30 percent last year on the back of retail investors' buying spree, and extended their gains for a considerable period of time this year. The KOSPI closed above the 3,000-point mark for the first time on Jan. 7.
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