South Korean banks' long-term foreign borrowing soared in October as local lenders rushed to secure foreign currency in a bid to brace for a possible crisis, the financial watchdog said Monday.
The rollover rate of long-term external debts with a maturity of one year or more at 12 domestic banks, excluding regional banks, stood at 299.3 percent in October, sharply up from 186.6 percent a month earlier, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in an e-mailed statement.
The sharp rise in fresh foreign debts was mainly attributable to domestic banks that proactively secured long-term funds to get ready for a crisis situation and year-end book closing, the FSS said.
The rollover rate gauges the percentage of fresh borrowing from overseas against foreign debts that mature in one year or more. The rate above 100 percent means local lenders refinanced their maturing foreign debts rather than paying back them.
The refinancing rate of short-term foreign debts maturing in one year or less at 16 domestic banks came in at 108 percent, down from 136.4 percent tallied in September, according to the watchdog.
Conditions for foreign borrowing improved slightly last month amid Europe's policy efforts to solve its debt crisis and expanded foreign currency swaps with Japan and China, the FSS said. South Korea increased its swap lines with China to 360 billion yuan (57 billion U.S. dollars) from 180 billion dollars, while expanding its swap lines with Japan to 70 billion dollars from 13 billion dollars.