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Overseas investments

S.Koreans' global stock, bond holdings at record high

The US ranks No. 1 destination of S.Korean equities investors, with Tesla at the top of list

By Oct 15, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

S.Koreans' global stock, bond holdings at record high

South Korean investors maintained their buying spree in overseas equities and bond markets, with the balance of their holdings in both securities recording a new quarterly high at the end of September.

The balance of overseas equities and bonds held by both Korean individuals and institutional investors edged up 0.9% to $89.7 billion at end-September, compared with three months before, according to the Korea Securities Depository on Oct. 14.

That marked a fresh quarterly high for a fifth straight quarter since the July-September period of 2020, as an increasing number of Korean retail investors have been making direct investments in overseas equities and fixed income products through online platforms.

Equities account for 74% of the balance, amounting to $66.69 billion and a 1.2% rise from three months before.
 
Tesla Inc. ranked the most popular stock among South Koreans, who held $10.2 billion worth of shares in the US electric vehicle startup traded on Nasdaq as of end-September. Apple Inc. came second with $3.9 billion, followed by Amazon.com with $2 billion and Alphabet Inc. with $1.9 billion.

ProShares UltraPro QQQ, an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, entered the top 10 list of US stocks held by South Koreans in the third quarter. The EFT is seeking investment returns of three times the daily performance of the Nasdaq-100 index.

By country, the US made up 83.4% of overseas equities owned by South Korean investors as of end-September, up 3.1% quarter-on-quarter. By contrast, the balance of Chinese stocks dwindled by $500 million during the third quarter on concerns about China's regulatory crackdown on stocks and Evergrande Group's debt woes.

The quarterly numbers provided by the securities depository body (KSD) differ from those from the Bank of Korea. That might be because the central bank's data could include investments made by some pension funds which the KSD did not, a KSD official said.   

Write to Sung-mi Shim at smshim@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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