June 21, 2021 11:48
The booming stock market has drawn more small investors than ever, to the point where stocks accounted for the biggest-ever proportion of Korean households' financial assets last year.
According to Bank of Korea data, Korean stocks accounted for 18.4 percent of households' financial assets in 2020, up 3.4 percentage points from the year before. They owned W837.2 trillion worth of them, up around W240 trillion (US$1=W1,130).
The proportion of foreign stocks tripled over the same period from 0.3 percent to 0.9 percent or in money terms from W12.9 trillion to W43.1 trillion. The total financial assets of households also increased from W3.98 quadrillion to W4.54 quadrillion.
According to the Financial Supervisory Service, Koreans opened 4.11 million new domestic stock accounts and 1.59 million foreign stock accounts in 2020.
Retail investors started investing money themselves rather than through investment funds, whose proportion fell from 2.8 percent of their financial assets to 2.4 percent last year.
But Koreans still hold a lower percentage of stocks in their investment portfolios than other advanced nations. The figure for the U.S. is 36.2 percent and the OECD average is 24.3 percent.
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