South Korean Banks See 47% Surge in Stock Prices Amid Government Initiative

South Korean Banks See 47% Surge in Stock Prices Amid Government Initiative

Seo Yoon-Ji
1 min read

South Korean Banks See 47% Surge in Stock Prices Amid Government Initiative

South Korean banks, including KB Financial and Shinhan Financial, have seen a significant increase in stock prices this year, surging up to 47% due to the government's Corporate Value-up initiative. Despite these gains, their low price-to-book ratios indicate potential for further growth. However, the proposed capital-gains tax raises concerns about potential outflows from retail investors, which could destabilize the local stock market. On the other hand, chaebols like E-Mart have not benefited as much from the initiative, experiencing a 20% decline in stock value. Investors such as Christine Phillpotts remain optimistic, foreseeing additional gains ranging from 10% to 20% for some banks.

Key Takeaways

  • South Korean banks have experienced a surge in stock prices, attributed to the Corporate Value-up initiative.
  • Despite the gains, their price-to-book ratios remain low, suggesting room for further growth.
  • The proposed capital-gains tax could trigger significant outflows from retail investors, potentially destabilizing the local stock market.
  • The impact of the Value-up program differs between banks and chaebols, influencing market dynamics and investor preferences for domestic and overseas equities.


The surge in South Korean bank stocks, attributed to the Corporate Value-up initiative, reflects a strategic effort by the government to increase financial sector valuations. Despite the gains, the low price-to-book ratios reveal potential undervaluation and growth opportunities. However, the proposed capital-gains tax presents a risk to market stability, particularly concerning retail investor behavior. The disparate impact of the initiative on banks and chaebols highlights shifts in market dynamics, potentially leading to diversification among investors and altering domestic investment landscapes in the long term.

Did You Know?

  • Corporate Value-up Initiative: A government-led program in South Korea aimed at enhancing the value and competitiveness of domestic companies, particularly benefiting financial institutions like banks through regulatory reforms and financial support.
  • Price-to-Book Ratio (P/B): A financial metric indicating a company's valuation in relation to its assets, with a low P/B ratio suggesting potential undervaluation and room for growth.
  • Capital-Gains Tax: A tax on profits from asset sales, which, if increased as proposed in South Korea, could impact investor behavior and market stability.

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