South Korea’s overseas direct investment rose to a record high of $43.7 billion last year on growing appetite for global investment funds.
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Tuesday, the country’s overseas investment jumped 11.8 percent on year to $43.7 billion last year, the highest since such data has been compiled from 1980.
Investments by finance and insurance companies made up the largest 29.1 percent of the country’s total overseas direct investment, followed by wholesale/retail businesses with 21.9 percent, manufacturing companies with 17.9 percent and real estate firms with 8.6 percent.
Overseas direct investments by finance and insurance businesses soared 47.5 percent against a year earlier. Investments by wholesale/retail firms also made a huge on-year jump of 64.9 percent. Manufacturers’ overseas investment declined 3.4 percent on year. Investments by real estate businesses that have been expanding continuously since 2013 contracted 43.3 percent on year due to huge jump in the previous year.
North America was Korea’s biggest investment destination, making up 36.1 percent of the total direct investment. Asia tagged behind with 28.1 percent, Central/South Americas with 16.0 percent and Europe 14.7 percent.
Investments in North America rose 6.6 percent, Asia 11.4 percent, Central/South Americas 15.8 percent, and Europe 55.6 percent year over year, whereas investments in Middle East plunged 40.1 percent on year due to fall in construction investments. Direct investments in China and Vietnam contracted 11.9 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, from lowered manufacturing investments.
The finance ministry said the country’s overseas direct investment may keep up the growth momentum as many businesses are seeking mergers and acquisitions opportunities abroad and asset managers are increasing investment portfolios of global assets.
By Yoon Won-sup and Cho Jeehyun
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