Seoul: Foreign investment in South Korea rose in 2010 as the value of foreigners’ shareholdings witnessed a surge on bullish stock market and strong local currency, said the central bank on Thursday.  

Outstanding foreign investment in Asia's fourth-largest economy amounted to a record USD 825 billion as of the end of 2010, up 13.6 percent from the previous year, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

"The US and the European Union were the largest investors in terms of portfolio investment as the bull run in the local stock markets raised the value of their shareholdings last year," said Yu Byung-hoon, a BOK official.

Korean assets have been widely viewed as attractive investment instruments as the economic fundamentals remained strong and the local currency's ascent to the dollar offered chances to lock in foreign exchange profits. Foreigners invested USD 490.8 billion to buy Korean stocks and bonds last year, up USD 101.1 billion from the previous year.

The US was the largest investor in local stocks with USD 131.1 billion, and the European Union put the largest amount of USD 51.2 billion in buying Korean bonds, the BOK said.