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Foreigners Lock in $6 bln in Dividend, Bond Interest Income in 2010
Foreigners locked in almost US$6 billion in profits from their investments in South Korean stocks and bonds last year as they snapped up Korean assets on the strong economic recovery, central bank data showed on Feb. 4.

Foreign investors took $5.88 billion in stock dividend and bond interest income in 2010, up 28.1 percent from the previous year, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Their profits from investment in local securities peaked at $7.48 billion in 2007 before falling to $6.2 billion in 2008, data showed.

The data came as foreign investors scooped up local stocks and bonds last year by betting on the relatively strong economic recovery. The Korean economy grew 6.1 percent last year, sharply up from 0.2 percent growth in 2009.

In particular, South Korean treasuries were viewed by foreigners as attractive investment vehicles as they offer relatively higher yields, and an expected appreciation of the Korean currency gave them chances to chalk up foreign exchange profits as well.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose about 20 percent on the back of sustained foreign stock buying in 2010. Foreign investors earned dividends worth $1.38 billion last year, up 9.6 percent from a year earlier, the BOK said.

Foreigners' interest income from bond investment came in at a record $4.5 billion in 2010, up 35.1 percent from 2009, it noted.

Meanwhile, South Koreans received $12.4 billion in dividend and bond interest income from overseas last year, up 13.8 percent from the previous year, according to the BOK.

Stock dividend income by South Korea climbed 44.2 percent on-year to $1.33 billion and bond interest income rose 11 percent to $11.07 billion.






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