National assets grew 8.2% in 2018

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National assets grew 8.2% in 2018

Korea’s total wealth grew at a fast pace from a year earlier in 2018, but largely on rapid increases in real estate and housing prices, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The country’s national assets came to 15,511.7 trillion won ($13.13 trillion) as of the end of last year, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the national balance sheet released by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The annual report is jointly compiled by the central bank and the statistics office.

The 2018 tally is 8.2 times higher than the country’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) for the same year, compared with 7.8 times in 2017.

The rise, however, comes mainly from a large increase in real estate prices.

“In 2018, the price of nonfinancial assets increased 4.7 percent [on year], quickening from a 3.9-percent rise in the previous year,” the BOK said in a press release.

“Prices of nonproductive and productive assets rose 6.3 percent and 2.8 percent on year, respectively, also quickening from 5.4 percent and 2.1 percent in the year before,” it added.

As of end-2018, real estate assets amounted to some 8,222 trillion won, up 7.6 percent from the year before and accounting for 54.6 percent of total assets, compared with 54.3 percent in 2017.

The total value of property assets, including houses and commercial buildings, also surged 6.8 percent on year to 5,038 trillion won, accounting for 33.5 percent of national assets.

Overall, nonfinancial assets gained 7.1 percent on year to some 15,050 trillion won.

The country’s financial assets also increased 4.5 percent on year to some 15,920 trillion won, while its financial liabilities added 3.3 percent to about 15,458 trillion won, leaving net financial assets of 461.8 trillion won, up from 280.4 trillion won in 2017, according to the BOK.

Meanwhile, the central bank said it has changed the base year for the national balance sheet to 2015 from 2010 to better reflect recent changes in prices.

As a result of the change in the benchmark year, the country’s national assets at end-2017 came to 14,337.3 trillion won, compared with 13,817.5 trillion won tallied earlier.

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