South Koreans' overseas card spending hit the record high in the third quarter despite lingering uncertainties surrounding the global economic conditions, central bank datashowed Friday.
Overseas card bills, including credit, debit card and check card, totaled a new quarterly high of 2.37 billion U.S. dollars during the July-September period, up 4.2 percent from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
The third-quarter figure topped the previous high of 2.3 billion dollars tallied in third quarter of last year.
The BOK attributed the record card spending to an increase in the number of outbound travelers and a growth in card spending per person. The number of overseas travelers jumped 14.7 percent on- quarter to reach a record high of 3.7 million in the third quarter, and the average card spending per person rose 0.4 percent to 474 dollars over the same period.
The global economic slump continued to weigh on consumer confidence domestically, but South Koreans rushed to spend more money in foreign countries amid the local currency's appreciation against the dollar.
The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) lowered its 2013 global growth outlook to 3.4 percent from an earlier estimate of 4.2 percent. The outlook for 2012 was cut from 3.4 percent to 2.9 percent.
The country's consumer sentiment index (CSI), which gauges consumers' sentiment over economic conditions, stayed below the benchmark level of 100 for four months in a row in November. The South Korean won has risen over 6 percent against the greenback so far this year, enhancing the purchasing power of local consumers.
During the third quarter, overseas spending through credit cards increased 1.9 percent on an on-quarter basis, with those for check and debit cards jumping 13.4 percent and 4.2 percent each.
Meanwhile, non-residents'card spending in South Korea amounted to 1.22 billion dollars in the third quarter, down 1.3 percent from the prior quarter due to a reduction in card spending per person.
Average card spending by non-residents contracted 2.3 percent on-quarter to 392 dollars in the third quarter.