SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s top institutional investor National Pension Service (NPS) said Friday it will raise the ceiling for the portion of its “strategic” investment in local stocks, a move to help ease the fund’s selling spree to meet its stockholding target.

Under the latest decision, the ceiling for the share of the NPS’ strategic investment in local stocks will be raised to 19.8 percent of the entire portfolio from the current 18.8 percent.

The change permits a deviation of plus or minus 3 percentage points from the 2021 stockholding target of 16.8 percent, increasing the allowable deviation from 2 percentage points.

The decision does not affect the pension fund’s 2021 target of total local shareholding but will help it reduce the amount of stocks that it should offload to meet the target.

As of end-2020, South Korean shares accounted for 21.2 percent of the total portfolio, hovering above the 16.8 percent target. The figure came to 21 percent at end-January.

It marked the first time since 2011 for the NPS to adjust the ratio.

Many retail investors have complained about the state pension fund’s selling spree as the move sapped the key local stock index’s bull run.