Direct overseas investment by South Korean firms hit a record high in the first quarter.
Data provided by the Ministry of Economy and Strategy showed on Friday that local firms’ investment overseas between January and March totaled 14-point-1 billion U.S. dollars, marking a whopping 44-point-nine percent growth from the same period last year.
It is the largest quarterly foreign direct investment(FDI) by South Korean firms since the ministry began compiling related data in 1981. The on-year growth rate was also at the highest level in two years following 62-point-nine percent growth in the first quarter of 2017.
On the other hand, domestic facility investment in the first quarter declined by more than 17 percent on-year, raising concerns that it may indicate an exodus of capital from the country.
The ministry downplayed this, saying the stark growth was due in part to a strong base effect stemming from a significant drop in FDI in the first quarter of last year. It said the first quarter amount is only six-point-seven percent higher than the figure recorded in the previous quarter.
Manufacturers led the overseas investment over the city period, jumping 140 percent from a year earlier to five-point-79 billion dollars, led by investment in facility and notable mergers of foreign rivals.
By country, investment in the U.S. grew 95-point-two percent on-year to three-point-65 billion dollars, while investment in China jumped 156-point-one percent to one-point-69 billion dollars.