South Korea’s National Pension Fund Reports 13.6% Investment ReturnSouth Korea’s Trade Terms Improve for Eighth Consecutive Month in January

SEOUL — South Korea's National Pension Service, the state pension fund, announced a 13.6 percent return on investment for the last year, attributing the strong performance to successful investments in both local and overseas stocks. This marks the highest annual return since the fund's management division was established in 1999.

According to Yonhap News Agency, by the end of last year, the fund's assets under management had risen to 1,035 trillion won (US$775 billion), an increase of approximately 145 trillion won from the previous year. The fund achieved a 22.12 percent return on its investment in local stocks and a 23.89 percent yield on overseas stocks. Additionally, the fund reported a 7.4 percent return on its investment in local bonds and an 8.84 percent yield on its investment in foreign bonds, contributing to its overall strong performance last year.

SEOUL — South Korea's trade terms witnessed an improvement for the eighth straight month in January, as the country's import costs continued their downward trajectory, data from the central bank revealed on Wednesday.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the net terms-of-trade index for goods — a measure reflecting the overall trade conditions — saw a 3.1 percent enhancement from the previous year in the last month, following a 2.4 percent increase in the month prior. This index, indicative of the amount of imports that can be purchased per unit of exports, signifies that a lower figure corresponds to less favorable trade terms. The decline in import prices by 7.9 percent year-on-year in January, contrasted with a 15.7 percent rise in export prices, played a significant role in this improvement. The calculation for this index involves dividing the export price index by the import price index.

The central bank's data also highlighted a continued upward movement in South Korea's exports for the fourth consecutive month in January, driven notably by a sharp increase in chip exports, the steepest in approximately six years. Export figures rose by 18 percent year-on-year to $54.6 billion last month, while imports saw a decrease of 7.8 percent to $54.3 billion, culminating in a trade surplus of $300 million. This marks a continuation of South Korea's monthly trade surplus streak since June 2023.

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