By Chung Joo-won
SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks are likely to start gradually picking up next week after the recent plunge from U.S. inflation woes, analysts said Saturday, expecting an increase in chip demand and liquidity in the stock market.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,921.92 points Friday, down 1.12 percent from a week ago.
Volatility was high in the local financial market this week, tracking its U.S. peers.
Stock prices fluctuated according to the U.S. Federal Reserve officials' hawkish comments about rate hikes and contracting its balance sheet, as well as the U.S. inflation data that grew at the fastest pace in almost four decades.
Analysts said stocks would start to gain ground gradually in the coming week, although concerns about the Fed's aggressive policy tightening would continue to play out in the market.
Foreign investors are pulling optimism for the memory chip industry, and institutions and retail investors are expected to inject more liquidity into the market, they said.
"Growing demand for DRAMs for PC servers, and the low supply of DRAMs -- since Samsung Electronics decided to focus on its foundry business -- are expected to push up the DRAM prices," NH Investment & Securities analyst Kim Young-hwan said.
"(Liquidity will increase) by next week, since institutions are likely to conclude their sell-offs for dividends and individuals are expected to get their deposits back from giant IPO subscriptions," he said.
Next week, a handful of key economic indexes will be published.
On Monday, China will release its fourth-quarter gross domestic product for last year and jobless and retail data for December.
On Friday, South Korea will announce its export-import data for the first 20 days of January.