South Korea's foreign direct investment pledges in 2014 rise 30.6% to record high

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea received a record high US$19 billion in pledges of foreign direct investment during 2014, government data showed on Monday, as interest from Europe and China surged.

The total is 30.6 percent higher than in 2013, when there were pledges of about US$14.6 billion, according to data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Pledged inflows from the European Union, the largest foreign investor in South Korea, grew 35 per cent to US$6.5 billion while those from China rose 147 per cent to US$1.2 billion.

During 2014, there was a broad agreement on a free trade deal between China and South Korea with a promise to officially sign the deal in the coming months. That was a catalyst for a surge in investments from China, the ministry said in a statement.

By industry, investments in manufacturing rose 64.6 per cent, owing mostly to a sharp rise in the component sector, while pledges into the service sector increased 13.6 per cent.

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