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Korea's national assets up 5.8% on-year in 2016

June 14, 2017 - 13:17 By a2016032

South Korea's total assets rose 5.8 percent in 2016 from a year earlier on a large increase in nonfinancial assets, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The country's national assets came to 13,078 trillion won ($11.6 trillion) at the end of 2016, up 715 trillion won from a year earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea.


The 2016 tally is eight times higher than the country's nominal gross domestic product for the same year.

The increase came mostly from a rise in nonfinancial assets, a move that underscored South Koreans' widespread preference for fixed assets, such as property, over volatile financial assets.

The country's total nonfinancial assets gained 5.1 percent on-year to 12,741.4 trillion won in 2016, according to the BOK.

The BOK said property assets accounted for 54.8 percent of overall nonfinancial assets as of end-2016, up from 54.2 percent the previous year, according to the BOK.

The ratio of property assets in nonfinancial assets has been gradually on the rise since 2014, when it stood at 53.6 percent.

"The rate of growth in real estate assets has been on a steady rise since 2014 due to major development projects in several areas, including the southern resort island of Jeju," the BOK said in a press release.

Meanwhile, financial assets jumped 5.8 percent on-year in 2016, but the country's net financial assets came to 336.6 trillion won as financial debts also rose 5.2 percent.

Household debt grew at a record pace in 2016 as the central bank kept its policy interest rate at a record low of 1.25 percent to bolster Asia's fourth-biggest economy.

The country's household debt jumped 11.1 percent on-year to 1,359.7 trillion won at the end of the first quarter, according to the Bank of Korea.

Households, including nonprofit organizations, continued to hold the largest share of national assets with their combined assets coming to 7,539 trillion won, or 57.6 percent of the total as of end-2016.

The government, including provincial governments and public entities, held 3,543.6 trillion won worth of assets, accounting for 27.1 percent of the total, with nonfinancial and financial companies holding 13.1 percent and 2.1 percent of total assets, respectively.

Meanwhile, the central bank said the country's total spending on research and development in 2015 came to $5.83 billion, the world's fifth largest.

However, the amount, in terms of its ratio to the national GDP, marked the world's second highest of 4.23 percent behind Israel's 4.25 percent, it added. (Yonhap)