Semiconductor inventories of Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc. remained at high levels in the third quarter of this year as the prolonged global economic downturn contracted demand, according to financial reports.

Inventory assets at Samsung reached 55.2 trillion won (US$42.3 billion) at the end of September, up 5.9 percent from 52.1 trillion won tallied at the end of 2022, the company said in its quarterly report posted on the Financial Supervisory Service's electronic disclosure board Tuesday.

In particular, the tech giant's chip business saw its inventory jump 16.1 percent to 33.7 trillion won from 29 trillion won over the cited period.

Samsung's inventories in the semiconductor sector more than doubled from 16.4 trillion won at the end of 2021.

SK hynix, the No. 2 memory chipmaker, said in its own quarterly report that the company's stockpile had been valued at 14.9 trillion won as of September, down 4.6 percent from 15.6 trillion won nine months earlier.

But SK hynix's inventory nearly trebled from 5.5 trillion won at the end of 2021.

The combined inventory level of the two chipmakers rose 8.8 percent to 48.6 trillion won over the nine-month period.

The share of chip inventories in the total assets of Samsung increased to 12.2 percent in the third quarter from 11.6 percent at the end of last year. But that of SK hynix edged down to 14.6 percent from 15.1 percent over the cited period.

Meanwhile, Samsung's quarterly report showed the company has sold off some 1.3 trillion won worth of shares in the Dutch chip equipment maker ASML Holdings N.V. to secure cash flows amid the chip slowdown.

Samsung's stake in Veldhoven-based ASML fell to 1.58 million, or 0.4 percent, at the end of September from 2.75 million, or 0.7 percent, the company held in end-June.

The South Korean tech titan has been cooperating with ASML, one of Samsung's biggest chipmaking partners and the sole maker of extreme ultraviolet lithography systems, since 2000 to boost its competitiveness in semiconductor manufacturing.

In 2012, the South Korean tech giant invested approximately 400 billion won in ASML's research and development of next-gen lithography technologies over the next five years.

Samsung also bought a 3 percent stake in ASML for about 700 billion won at that time and sold off half of the stake four years later for 600 billion won.