SEOUL, Feb. 26 (Yonhap) — South Korean institutions’ investment in foreign securities rose 12.8 percent on year in 2020 as global stocks rallied amid the coronavirus pandemic, central bank data showed Friday.

The combined value of foreign securities held by institutional investors came to US$369.3 billion as of end-December last year, up $41.8 billion from a year ago, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The tally rebounded from a $9.5 billion fall in the first quarter when global financial markets were hit by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Investment demand for foreign securities increased as global stock markets improved,” the BOK said.

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 $34.4 billion on-year to $141.8 billion last year, mainly because stock prices in major countries shot up.

Investments in overseas bonds added $7.7 billion to $185.3 billion in the cited period on the back of major countries’ monetary easing and falls in market rates, the BOK said.