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Retail inflows at 2-year low as recession worries mount

The average daily trading volume of retail investors on the main board Kospi in June dropped to its lowest level since February 2020, data from the Korea Exchange showed Sunday. The fall comes as investors are bracing for a growth slowdown from the US Federal Reserve’s rate hikes.

The value of shares investors bought and sold in a day on average on the benchmark index reached 4.3 trillion won ($3.3 billion) last month. That is a little more than 3.7 trillion won recorded in February 2020 and is about one-third of 11.4 trillion won seen in June 2021.

The volume, which peaked at 17.2 trillion won in January 2021 when the Kospi surpassed the 3,000 mark for the first time, markedly declined in June this year as the US Fed announced its biggest rate hike in decades to tame soaring prices. The Kospi dropped to 2,305.42 Friday, a new 52-week low.

“The markets will be jumpy for the time being given that inflation and recession fears are still there,” said Kim Young-hwan, a market strategist at NH Investment & Securities, adding the broad sell-off could affect blue-chip stocks.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics, whose shares retail investors snatched up the most for the last six months, sank 28.2 percent Friday to 56,200 won from 78,300 won on Dec. 31 last year.

In the same period, Tesla shares, the No. 1 non-Korean stock individual investors bought in the past six months, tumbled 35.4 percent to $681.79 from $1,056.78.

Since January this year, retail traders have spent 2.9 trillion won on the world’s biggest electric carmaker, while in the same period 15.3 trillion went to Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone and memory chipmaker.

By Choi Si-young (
Korea Herald Youtube