SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) — South Korean institutions’ investment in foreign securities fell 1.7 percent in the first quarter as they reduced their holdings of foreign sovereign bonds, central bank data showed Friday.

The combined value of foreign securities held by institutional investors came to US$363 billion as of end-March, down $6.1 billion from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Foreign securities include stocks, bonds and so-called Korean paper, which refers to foreign currency-denominated securities issued by the South Korean government, banks or companies in overseas markets.

Investments in foreign stocks rose $5.5 billion from three months earlier to $147.4 billion in the first quarter, mainly because stock prices in major countries shot up.

Investments in overseas bonds fell $8.7 billion to $176.5 billion in the cited period, the BOK said.