UPDATE : 2019.9.21 SAT 10:58
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S. Korea's stock loans flirt with record high

Local investors are borrowing a large amount in loans to buy local stocks as the country's bourse has maintained a generally upward trajectory, despite a slump in the pace of growth, market data showed Saturday.

The amount of money borrowed to buy stocks, the so-called margin debt, reached 11.24 trillion won (US$10.4 billion) as of Tuesday, slightly down from an all-time high of 11.42 trillion won tallied on Feb. 2, according to the data compiled by the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA).

The figure exceeds the 9.86 trillion won worth of margin debt at the end of last year, 6.77 trillion won at the end of 2016 and 6.52 trillion won at the end of 2015.

The country's stock market has been undergoing a stunning run since last year, aided by sound corporate earnings and economic fundamentals. The gains come despite some corrections caused by a series of North Korean provocations that fueled geopolitical tensions.

Since October, the margin debt has been on a steady increase as retail investors bet that the local stock market will rise further.

The country's benchmark index, the KOSPI, gained more than 21 percent last year, hitting an all-time high of 2,561.63 points on Nov. 2, with the secondary, tech-heavy Kosdaq market enjoying a 26.4 percent gain.

But entering this year, the main stock market faced some correction, and the margin debt went up and down. The KOSPI closed at 2,402.16 points, down 25.20, or 1.04 percent, on Friday. (Yonhap)

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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