Japan household assets hit record as savings, stock prices rise

© Kyodo News

Assets held by Japanese households hit a record at nearly 2,000 trillion yen ($18 trillion) at the end of September as people continued to refrain from spending due to the coronavirus pandemic and stock prices rose, Bank of Japan data showed Monday.

The total figure of 1,999.8 trillion yen was the highest since comparable data became available in 2005 and up 5.7 percent from a year earlier. Cash and deposits increased 3.7 percent to 1,072 trillion yen, accounting for 53.6 percent of the overall balance, according to the data.

The holding of cash and deposits increased as people were asked to stay home when the COVID-19 situation was severe, making them spend less money.

Many areas in Japan including Tokyo and Osaka were under a months-long coronavirus state of emergency until the end of September that urged people to avoid nonessential outings and restaurants and bars to close earlier.

Assets held in equities rose 28.6 percent to 218 trillion yen as stock prices rose on hopes for a gradual recovery in major economies.

Cash and deposits held by nonfinancial firms rose 4.4 percent to 321 trillion yen, accounting for 25.6 percent of the total assets, worth 1,250 trillion yen, up 8.3 percent.

Loans extended by financial institutions to nonfinancial firms fell 0.1 percent to 351 trillion yen.

The quarterly report said the BOJ's holding of Japanese government bonds inched down 0.7 percent to 538 trillion yen, as some of them were redeemed at maturity.

The central bank, which has implemented a massive asset-buying program to keep borrowing costs low for companies and consumers, owned 44.1 percent of the outstanding debt issued by the state.

Overseas investors owned 13.4 percent of Japanese government debt after they increased their holdings by 8.1 percent to 164 trillion yen, according to the data.