13 Feb '11, 6am

South Korea household debt rises in 2010

SEOUL - SOUTH KOREA'S household debt, a major economic risk factor, rose sharply last year, raising concerns about an increase in defaults, a private credit appraiser reported on Sunday. At the end of December, financial institutions had 722.8 trillion won (S$822.5 billion) in outstanding loans to the household sector, up 6.9 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Korea Credit Bureau. The figure included 124.1 trillion won in unsecured household loans, up 19.4 per cent from a year ago, and 311.5 trillion won in mortgage loans, up 9.5 per cent, it said. The bureau warned that an increase in interest rates would turn more household debts sour. Last week the Bank of Korea left its key interest rate unchanged at 2.75 per cent despite concerns about inflation. Annual inflation reached 4.1 per cent in January, prompting the finance ministry to announce a series of measur...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Money/Story/STIS...

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