South Korea and Taiwanese chip stocks attracted billions in foreign investment during May amid the jump in interest in artificial intelligence (AI).
Taiwanese equities attracted a huge inflow of $4.4 billion, followed by $3.1 billion that went into South Korean stocks.
The rise of ChatGPT, launched last year, has propelled the AI frenzy and sparked a global rally in chipmaker stocks.
“The chase for semiconductor stocks on optimism surrounding AI demand has been a key theme for investors, and South Korea and Taiwan’s significantly higher exposure to that industry may account for the larger amount of net inflows as opposed to the rest of the region,” Yeap Jung Rong, market strategist at IG, said.
India also sees a surge of inflows
Data from stock exchanges in South Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam showed foreigners purchased a net $11.74 billion worth of regional equities in May – the biggest amount since November 2022.
Markets in Taiwan and South Korea accounted for about 64% of the region’s total inflows last month.
Meanwhile, foreigners secured a net $5.3 billion worth of Indian stocks, their biggest monthly purchase since August 2022, boosted by its strong economic growth in the March quarter.
“The GDP growth print was a significant positive surprise, and strong bank credit growth and GST collections are underscoring robust corporate growth outlook, we believe,” Manishi Raychaudhuri, Asia-Pacific head of equity research at BNP Paribas, said.
On the other hand, Thai, Vietnamese and Philippine equities faced outflows of $995 million, $134 million and $81 million, respectively, last month.
In contrast to the significant sell-off in 2022, foreign investors have been net buyers of Asian equities this year, buoyed by expectations that the Federal Reserve would adopt less aggressive monetary tightening measures to combat inflationary pressures.
A string of economic data, along with last week’s dovish rhetoric from Fed officials, has emboldened bets that the Fed will likely refrain from lifting rates at its June 13-14 meeting.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard