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No. of stock-trading accounts surpasses 30m

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Despite the novel coronavirus outbreak continuing to roil financial markets, the number of active security accounts in South Korea has exceeded 30 million for the first time, according to data from the Korea Financial Investment Association and Statistics Korea on Wednesday.

As of Friday, the number of active equity accounts marked some 30 million -- up 26,245 from a day earlier and 661,612 ‬from the beginning of this year, the self-regulatory financial organization and nation’s statistics agency said.

Active security accounts are those with depository assets of 100,000 won ($84) or more and that recorded a transaction at least once in the last six months. Among the Friday figure, retail investors accounted for the most, to buy and sell securities.

Amid the prolonged virus outbreak, global markets have posted their steepest falls since the 2008 financial crisis, but the number of active equity accounts has drastically increased. The monthly increase at the end of December last year recorded 93,000, while in January and February this year it came to 208,000 and 343,000, respectively.

From end-2009 until 2017 the number of accounts stood at some 16 million and increased by 1 million per year, except in 2012 and 2014. In 2012 it posted a decline of 274,818 and 2014 saw restrained growth of 167,412. But the figure has rapidly risen over the past two years, marking on-year increases of 2.3 million in 2018 and 2.2 million in 2019.

Market watchers have suggested that the growth is due to increasing individual investors’ interest in the local stock market after the nation’s benchmark Kospi hit the 2,600-point mark in January 2018.

Commission-free events held by brokerages here also have attracted retail investors. Growing interest in overseas securities and the active initial public offering market led them to open new accounts, they said.

The number of active security accounts even outran the economically active population here for the first time at the end of December last year. The active population logged nearly 29.36 million -- up 1.26 million from the labor statistics with some 28 million.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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