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Number of stock-trading accounts nears 30m


The number of active security accounts in South Korea is nearing 30 million amid growing stock trading activities focused on overseas markets, according to data from the Korea Financial Investment Association on Monday.

As of Thursday, the number of active equity accounts was around 29.4 million. It is expected to soon reach 30 million, considering its fast growth, the self-regulatory financial organization said.

Active security accounts are those with depository assets of 100,000 won ($86.4) and over and which recorded a transaction at least once in the last six months.

The number of accounts increased dramatically last year -- marking some 29.3 million last year, an on-year increase of 2.3 million.

By annual growth, the figure was the largest rise in 10 years. The number of accounts marked 16.3 million at end-2009 and exceeded 20 million at end-2015. As the Seoul’s benchmark Kospi hit 2,600 points in January 2018, the number of accounts surged by nearly 2.23 million annually.

Amid an escalating US-China trade war last year, Kospi dipped below the 1,900-point level, so investors turned their eyes on global investments, following a boom in global stock markets.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Securities Depository, local investors trading amount of US stocks reached near $30.9 billion, up 37.4 percent from the previous year.

The investors also opened new accounts in other local securities firms, as the brokerages had better sales promotion to attract new customers.

The development of mobile platforms also triggered an increase in the number of security accounts. Recently, local brokerage firms expanded their linked account channels using local lenders’ mobile banking services, which allow investors to easily open accounts.

In March last year, Korea Investment & Securities enabled customers to open stock accounts, in collaboration with Kakao Bank. The number of accounts opened through the service steadily grew over the months, reaching over 1.16 million within a year.

More investors are expected to open security accounts, with the launch of the nation’s third internet-only bank, Toss Bank, which received approval for launching operations in the first half of 2021. Its customers are likely to flood the stock market.

Korean stocks, meanwhile, rose for the third consecutive session Monday, hitting a 15-month high amid increased foreign buying on positive US economic data and a rally by tech stocks.

The Kospi closed at 2,262.64 points, the highest level since Oct. 5, 2018. It rose 12.07 points, or 0.54 percent from the last trading session.

Foreign investors purchased a net 53.7 billion won ($46.3 million) worth of stocks, giving a boost to the main index.

The tech-laden secondary Kosdaq, however, closed at 683.47 points, down 4.94 points, or 0.72 percent from the last trading session.

By Jie Ye-eun (