Foreigners sell S. Korean stocks amid political turmoil

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Seoul, Dec 12 (IANS) Foreign investors sold South Korean stocks for the first time in six months amid political turmoil surrounding President Park Geun-hye, financial watchdog data showed on Monday.

Foreigners dumped 1.19 trillion won ($1.02 billion) in listed stocks in November, the first monthly sale by offshore investors since May, Xinhua news agency cited the Financial Supervisory Service as saying.

European, Asian and Middle East investors sold hundreds of billions of won in local shares, while US and Canadian investors slightly purchased shares.

The massive foreign sales came as concerns deepened among foreigners over the political turmoil involving Park and her longtime confidante that led to the President’s impeachment last week.

Park was identified as a criminal accomplice to Choi Soon-sil, her decades-long friend who was charged with using her sway with the President to extort donations from conglomerates and accessing state secrets.

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As Park was suspended from office, Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn became acting President to temporarily run the country until the constitutional court deliberates on it up to 180 days.

Foreign ownership of local stocks reached 469.9 trillion won as of end-November, up 0.5 trillion won from the previous month on higher stock prices. It accounted for 31.4 per cent of total market capitalisation.

Foreign holdings of local bonds amounted to 89.8 trillion won at the end of November, down 1.8 trillion won from the previous month. Foreign ownership took up 5.6 per cent of the total listed bonds.

–IANS

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