South Korea’s National Wealth Grew 36% Over 5 Years

John Kim, Dec. 30, 2015, 8:05 a.m.


Korea's national wealth stood at W11 quadrillion and 39 trillion as of the end of 2013, up 36 percent from 2008 despite the global financial crisis, the Bank of Korea said Tuesday (US$1=W1,170). The national wealth covers total net assets owned by the public and adds financial assets and real estate, subtracting debt.



The biggest increase was in the government's wealth, which rose 40 percent over the five-year period to W3 quadrillion and 93 trillion. A BOK official attributed it to the government spending on infrastructure projects to overcome the financial crisis, which left it with large valuables instead. 

Net assets owned by households and nonprofit groups grew 38 percent to W6 quadrillion and 366 trillion. This was mainly due to skyrocketing values of real estate, stocks and other assets following a steep plunge in the 2008 crisis. 



Businesses fared less well, with non-financial companies increasing their net assets by 26.5 percent to W1 quadrillion and 335 trillion, while banks did even worse with a 5.6 percent increase to W245 trillion.

The amount of non-financial assets in total, which includes land, building sites and facilities, rose around W2 quadrillion and 873 trillion to W11 quadrillion and 79 trillion, but net financial assets dropped from W87.2 trillion to W39.3 trillion amid low interest rates and burgeoning household debt. 

The proportion of households' real estate holdings fell from 46.1 percent in 2008 to 44.3 percent in 2013. "One of the reasons for the decline was the growing replacement of mom-and-pop stores with franchise outlets like convenience stores."

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