South Korea’s overseas investment fell sharply on-year during the first half due to a plunge in North America amid global market uncertainties, the finance ministry said Sunday. The country’s overseas direct investment came to US$20.56 billion during the January-June period, down 24.8 percent from the same period a year earlier, the ministry said. The decline was driven mostly by a 70.7 percent plunge in North America, which includes the U.S. Investment in the Middle East and Asia also fell 5.7 percent and 2.2 percent from a year earlier, according to South Korea’s (Yonhap) News Agency. By sector, South Korea’s investment in overseas mining projects dropped 59.1 percent, while the manufacturing sector saw a 19.5 percent increase over the cited period. Investment in the finance and insurance sectors jumped 76.7 percent on-year during the first half and investment in real estate and the property renting business also spiked 201.5 percent. The increase in those sectors is attributable to active outbound investment by pension funds, including the National Pension Service, the largest state-run pension operator. Meanwhile, Australia was the biggest investment destination for Koreans with $4.28 billion flowing into the country in the first half, trailed by the U.S. and China with $3.21 billion and $2.34 billion, respectively, the ministry said.