SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s financial regulator has not made a final decision on whether to lift its ban on stock short selling in March, a senior regulatory official said Tuesday.

The senior official at the Financial Services Commission (FSC) made the remarks a day after the FSC issued an announcement that the ban has been scheduled to be lifted starting on March 15.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Monday’s announcement was aimed at deterring market speculation that the FSC may keep the ban.

In August last year, the FSC extended the temporary ban on stock short selling for another six months, or until March 13 this year, in a move to ease market jitters over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stock short selling is a trading technique in which investors sell stocks they borrowed on the belief that share prices will fall in the near future.

When the prices fall, they can buy back the stocks at lower prices, pocket the profit and return the shares to the original owner. Increased short selling typically indicates that many investors anticipate a slump in stock prices.

South Korea’s benchmark stock index jumped about 30 percent last year.