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S. Korea's household debt grew at alarming clip last year: BIS data

All News 13:37 June 21, 2020

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's household debt to the gross domestic product grew at the fastest pace among 43 countries in the world last year, leading the country's overall private-sector debt to also expand at one of the biggest rates, data showed Sunday.

The ratio of the country's household debt to GDP reached 95.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 1.6 percentage points from 93.9 percent the previous year, according to data provided by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS).

Hong Kong had the same growth in the ratio as South Korea, marking the fastest growth rate among 43 countries, including the United States, China and Japan, according to the data.

This illustration indicates a sharp rise in the household debt of South Korea. (Yonhap)

South Korea and Hong Kong were followed by Norway with 1 percentage point, China with 0.8 percentage point and Thailand with 0.6 percentage point.

South Korea's growth in the household debt is expected to rise this year due to massive lending by the government to overcome the financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ratio's on-year increase in the fourth quarter of 2019 was the fourth largest, gaining 3.6 percentage points, trailing Hong Kong with 8.3 percentage points, Norway with 4.6 percentage points and China with 3.7 percentage points.

In terms of the ratio of nonfinancial institutions' credit to GDP, South Korea reached 102.1 percentage points in the October-December period of 2019, up 1 percentage point from the previous quarter.

Over the cited period, the ratio of the private-sector debt to GDP climbed to 197.6 percent, up 2.6 percentage points from the previous quarter.

The ratio is the third fastest-growth rate, following Singapore with 7.2 percentage points and Chile with 3.1 percentage points.


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