Japan’s household assets hit record high at end of December


Financial assets held by Japanese households hit a record high ¥1,741 trillion ($15.5 trillion) at the end of December, as stocks gained after sell-offs and consumers increased their cash and deposits, data by the Bank of Japan showed Friday.

The figure, marking a 1.7 percent increase from a year earlier, renewed the previous record of ¥1,734 trillion reported at the end of June.

Despite the total amount of household assets hitting the highest on record, the outlook remains uncertain as growth concerns about emerging economies has led to turbulence in financial markets in the current quarter through March 31.

By type of assets, cash and deposits grew 1.3 percent to ¥902 trillion, accounting for 51.8 percent of the total.

Shares and equities rose 2.9 percent to ¥169 trillion, and investment trusts were up 4.1 percent to ¥96 trillion.

The quarterly data came at a time when the government is trying to encourage consumers and companies to spend more to boost economic growth.

In the corporate sector, financial assets held by nonfinancial companies gained 4.4 percent to a record high ¥1,117 trillion.

Companies other than financial institutions had more cash and deposits than the same period last year, pushing the amount to a record ¥246 trillion, up 7.9 percent.

Foreign direct investment was up 5.6 percent to ¥110 trillion.

As the BOJ kept up massive asset-buying, the central bank was the largest holder of Japanese government bonds at a record high ¥331 trillion, up 29.5 percent.

Japan’s sovereign debt held by foreign investors rose 18.1 percent to ¥110 trillion, accounting for 10.6 percent of the total. It is the first time that the percentage of foreign holders topped the 10 percent threshold.

The outstanding balance of Japanese government bonds grew 1.5 percent to ¥1,036 trillion.