Foreign investors sell S. Korean stocks in May

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SEOUL, June 7 (Xinhua) — Foreign investors sold South Korean stocks last month on emerging worry about headline inflation, financial watchdog data showed on Monday.

Foreigners offloaded a net 10.2 trillion won (9.1 billion U.S. dollars) worth of domestic stocks in May, according to the Financial Supervisory Service.

The foreign holdings of local stocks amounted to 820.2 trillion won (734.6 billion U.S. dollars) as of end-May, down 2.3 trillion won (2.1 billion U.S. dollars) from a month earlier. It took up 30.1 percent of the total market capitalization.

It came amid rising concerns about the headline inflation that may lead to the faster-than-expected hike in interest rate.

Consumer price index (CPI) gained 2.6 percent in May from a year earlier, marking the fastest increase in over nine years since April 2012.

The country’s central bank indicated a possible policy rate hike within this year, after freezing its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 0.50 percent last month.

Offshore investors bought a net 10.2 trillion won (9.1 billion U.S. dollars) worth of local bonds in May.

Given the maturing debts worth 4.7 trillion won (4.2 billion U.S. dollars), overseas investors made a net investment worth 5.5 trillion won (4.9 billion U.S. dollars).

The foreign ownership of domestic bonds came to 179.1 trillion won (160.4 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of May, up 5.2 trillion won (4.7 billion U.S. dollars) from a month ago. It accounted for 8.3 percent of the total listed bonds. Enditem