Stock loans in South Korea have nearly doubled over the past two years as more retail investors borrow money to invest in equities amid a market rally, data show.
The amount of outstanding margin loans came to 11.23 trillion won (US$10.4 billion) as of March 2, up about 14 percent from the end of 2017, according to the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA). The figure is 1.7 times the 6.78 trillion won recorded two years earlier. Investors, mostly individuals, take out loans from brokerage houses to invest in stocks.
According to the KOFIA data, three securities companies had a margin loan balance of 1 trillion won or more. Mirae Asset Daewoo had the largest 2.05 trillion won, up 48.4 percent from a year earlier. Kiwoom Securities came next with 1.13 trillion won, followed by Samsung Securities with slightly over 1 trillion won.