SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — Foreign investors sold South Korean stocks last year, the first selling in three years, amid the external uncertainties, such as the interest rate hikes in the United States and trade conflict among major economies, financial watchdog data showed Monday.

Foreigners dumped a net 6.7 trillion won (6 billion U.S. dollars) worth of domestic listed stocks in 2018, the first foreign selling since 2015, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

It came amid the lingering uncertainties from abroad, such as trade conflict among major economies and the policy rate hike in the United States.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate to a range of 2.25-2.50 percent in December last year, surpassing the Bank of Korea (BOK)’s target rate of 1.75 percent. It caused worry about foreign capital outflow from the South Korean financial market.

Concerns continued about the global trade conflict. South Korea heavily depends on export for its economic growth.

Foreign holdings of local stock amounted to 509.7 trillion won (453.9 billion U.S. dollars) as of end-2018, down 19.8 percent from a year earlier. It accounted for 31.3 percent of the total market capitalization.

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