SEOUL, March 25 (Yonhap) -- Short-term time deposits at South Korean banks surged nearly 17 percent in 2018, central bank data showed Monday, due probably to increased savings by big firms.
The outstanding amount of fixed deposits with a maturity of less than one year came to 240.8 trillion won (US$212 billion) as of end-2018, up 16.6 percent, or 34.3 trillion won, from the previous year.
The on-year increase was the fastest pace in eight years, the central bank said.
The surge was attributed to the fact that large companies parked more idle funds at banks to brace for possible cash crunches instead of spending them on long-term investments.
"The amount grew as big businesses put their idle money into short-term time deposits," a BOK official said. "But cash-strapped smaller firms took out more loans."
Outstanding bank loans to small and medium-sized enterprises stood at 669.4 trillion won at the end of last year, up 37.6 trillion won from a year earlier.
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