Foreign ownership of South Korean stocks reached a six-year low in July as offshore investors sought to take profits amid a weakening local currency, data showed Sunday.
Foreign investors held 428.9 trillion won (US$366 billion) worth of stocks traded on the main bourse and the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market as of end-July, or 29.2 percent of the total market capitalization, according to data by the Korea Exchange (KRX).
The percentage was the lowest level since August 2009, when the figure came to 28.9 percent.
Foreign stock ownership had been hovering above the 30-percent range since November 2011 before dropping to 29.7 percent in June.
Offshore investors turned net sellers for the first time in five months in June, selling a net 389 trillion won worth of stocks. Their net selling rose to 2 trillion won last month.
European investors sold a net 2.6 trillion won in July, spearheading the foreign sell-off.
Market watchers said foreign investors appeared to be exiting the South Korean stock market out of fear over foreign exchange losses from the won's recent fall against the U.S. dollar.
The local currency ended at 1,170 won against the greenback in Seoul on Friday, down 1.6 won from Thursday's close and the lowest level since June 12, 2012.
South Korean stocks closed up 0.55 percent on Friday as investors hunted for bargains.