SEOUL, April 27 (Yonhap) — Foreign holdings of South Korean stocks reached a 13-month low, as offshore investors rushed for cash amid the prolonged coronavirus uncertainties, data showed Monday.

Foreign investors held 468.2 trillion won (US$379.4 billion) worth of stocks traded on the main bourse as of Friday’s close, or 36.83 percent of the total market capitalization, according to the data from the Korea Exchange (KRX).

The percentage was the lowest level since March 20 last year, when the figure came to 36.69 percent. After peaking at 39.4 percent on Feb. 24, the numbers continued to dive.’

In the Feb. 24-April 24 period, foreigners sold off a net 20.2 trillion won worth of stocks on the main bourse.

Due to the massive foreign sell-off, the benchmark stock index plummeted from 2,162.84 points on Feb. 21 to 1,457.64 on March 19.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its global economic fallout worsened investor sentiment, driving foreign investors into panic selling mode, analysts said.

“Foreign investors seem to have dumped South Korean stocks for quick cash, not particularly because they lost interest in the local market,” eBEST Investment & Securities Co. senior researcher Yoon Ji-ho said.

“With the lingering coronavirus risks in the market, it is unlikely that they will turn buyers any time soon,” he added.