South Korea’s Public Officials Benefit Association (POBA) is eyeing opportunities that may emerge during the Covid-19 crisis after stockpiling short-term investment funds, Yonhap Infomax reported on May 21, citing sources. 

They said the short-term investment funds amounted to about 1.5 trillion won ($1.2 billion) at the end of 2019, up sharply from 164.6 billion won in 2018 and 85.6 billion won in 2017, respectively. 

However, POBA will continue to take a cautious approach in committing to new investments, as it finds it difficult to predict financial market conditions and long-term macroeconomic prospects, Infomax added.

Market volatility escalated last year due to the trade war between the U.S. and China and the imposition of export regulations by Japan, while the spread of Covid-19 this year is raising concerns of a possible recession. 

The rapid rise in POBA’s assets has contributed to the increase in its short-term investment funds. Assets amounted to about 14.3 trillion won at the end of 2019, compared with 12.2 trillion won in 2018 and around 11 trillion won in 2017.

“POBA thinks that distressed assets and real estate investment trusts will give good opportunities to invest in the Covid-19 era and it also plans to constantly monitor markets in order to seek joint investments by utilizing existing global networks,” a POBA official told Infomax.

“This year, alternative investments are not easy due to Covid-19, but POBA is confident that new opportunities will soon emerge,” said the official, adding that the group continues to reduce risks through diversification. (Reporting by Jin-won Lee)