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Net asset values of funds dive in March

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Investment funds in South Korea posted a sharp valuation fall in March over fears of the novel coronavirus, marking the largest decline so far, data showed Thursday.

The combined net asset value of public offering and private placement funds, excluding private equity funds that entail management involvement in companies, sank to 646.19 trillion won ($520.74 billion) as of end-March, down 45.66 trillion won from the previous month, according to the Korea Financial Investment Association.

The tally marked the steepest fall since the self-regulatory financial organization started tracking such data in January 2004. The reading was a larger monthly dip than it was during the global financial crisis in September 2008, at 31.62 trillion won. Plummeting stock indexes and unstable bond rates caused disruptions in the local funds market.

The value of local investment funds exceeded 600 trillion won for the first time in April last year and continued its gain to reach 700 trillion won in February this year. It peaked at a record high 708.5 trillion won on Feb. 19 but began to nose-dive fast.

As of end-March, the NAV of the money market funds contracted 23.69 trillion won, which is the largest drop among the fund vehicles. Securities-type funds and bond-type funds also lost 8.98 trillion won and 8.74 trillion won, respectively.

Public offering funds saw a larger drop than private funds, recording 232.68 trillion won -- down 39.51 trillion won from a month earlier -- while private funds’ net value marked 413.57 trillion won, down 6.61 trillion won in a cited period.

In the meantime, real estate funds saw their NAV rise 652.8 billion won in the same month, as some investors consider the funds to be less risky during an economic crisis.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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