South Korea became a net holder of external asset as assets it lends to and invests in foreigners surpassed liabilities that it borrows from foreigners, central bank data showed Thursday.
External investment reached a record high of 1.05 trillion U.S. dollars as of end-September, up 10.2 billion dollars from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). Investment of foreigners into domestic assets reduced 23.1 billion dollars to 1.03 trillion dollars in the same period.
Net investment, which means external investment minus foreign investment into local assets, recorded 22.7 billion dollars as of end-September, marking the first positive figure since the data began to be compiled in 1994.
Since 2000, South Korea has been a net external creditor, which means the country has more external lending than borrowing from overseas, but it was in the reds considering the external investment such as stock and derivatives purchase.
During the third quarter, South Korea increased investment into foreign securities, while foreigners reduced local stock holdings on worries about the foreign exchange loss from the South Korean currency's depreciation to the dollar.
Net external credit, which excludes stock and derivatives investment, posted a record high of 224.9 billion dollars as of end-September.
External liabilities fell 13.1 billion dollars to 429.1 billion dollars in the cited period, but external credit increased 6.2 billion dollars to 654 billion dollars as of end-September.
Short-term foreign debts, which mature in less than a year, were 126.1 billion dollars as of end-September, down 5.7 billion dollars from three months ago.
The ratio of short-term foreign debts to the total external liabilities was 29.4 percent as of end-September, down 0.4 percentage point from three months earlier.