July 4, 2023
SEOUL – Korean investors have poured money into Japanese stocks this year, taking advantage of a weaker yen and the roaring Japanese stock market, according to data from the Korea Securities Depository on Monday.
In recent months, the Korean currency has been traded in the 900 won range against 100 Japanese yen, as the Bank of Japan continues to maintain negative rates to spur the local economy. Backed by the record low yen, more local investors are scooping up Japanese shares.
The KSD data showed that Korean investors net purchased $132 million worth of Japanese stocks in the first six months of this year, a 1,220 percent increase from $10 million in the same period of last year.
Over 44,000 individual purchases happened this year, showing a 70 percent increase from the 26,000 purchases in the same period last year. The figure is the highest since related data was compiled since 2011.
Monthly figure also show 14,494 purchases happened in June, the largest ever, breaking the previous record of 7,757 purchases in May.
As of Thursday, Korean investors held $3.13 billion worth of Japanese stocks, a 18 percent jump from the $26.1 billion end of last year.
“The buying spree of Japanese shares will continue throughout July based on the economic recovery of Japan led by increasing domestic demand and improved capital efficiency of businesses,” analyst Byun Jong-man NH Investment & Securities said.
“But the price increase will slow down soon, as it has been excessive. That could be the time for those who were unable to make new investments in the market since May to enter,” Byun said.
The weak yen, however, may not continue for long. The market suggests the Bank of Japan is likely to raise its base rates by the end of this year. If the yen strengthens, the foreign buying spree could lose steam.
“Japan is likely to change its monetary policy stance by the end of this year. It will be pressured to drop the low base interest rate policy due to the widening rate discrepancies with the US Federal Reserve,” Cho Eui-yoon, a researcher at the Korea International Trade Association, said.