SEOUL, 11th November, 2016 (WAM) — South Korea’s overseas direct investment fell for the first time in two years in the third quarter of the year due largely to a drop in demand for foreign financial instruments, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

The country’s overseas direct investment came to US$8.89 billion in the July-September period, compared with $9.94 billion tallied in the same period last year.

It is the first time that the quarterly figure posted negative growth since the third quarter of 2014, when it slumped 23.4 percent on-year.

For the first nine months of the year, on the other hand, the number rose 11.2 percent on-year to $30.96 billion.

Investments by financial institutions, including insurers, slumped 33 percent on-year to $1.81 billion over the three-month period, offsetting a 20.1 percent gain of $2.14 billion by real estate businesses.

Manufacturers invested $2.08 billion in overseas assets, up 1.4 percent on-year, while money funneled from the wholesale and retail sector soared 74.4 percent to $830 million.

Asia was South Korea’s biggest investment destination with a total of $3.01 billion, followed by North America with $2.67 billion and Europe with $1.49 billion.

The finance ministry expected the country’s overseas investment to continue declining in the coming months due to a protracted slowdown in the world economy and spreading protectionism, coupled with rising uncertainties fuelled by the U.S. presidential election.