South Korea adopted a quasi- quantitative easing (QE) under the three-year economic innovation plan to stabilize mortgage loan market, whose fast growth was feared to dent private consumption.
The Finance Ministry, Bank of Korea (BOK) and Financial Services Commission (FSC) on Thursday unveiled a joint plan to speed up the restructuring of household debts, which topped the psychologically dangerous level of 1,000 trillion won (about 940 billion U.S. dollars) last year.
The plan came as part of follow-up actions to the three-year economic innovation plan, announced by President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday, which marked the first anniversary of her inauguration.
Under the plan, the central bank will buy mortgage-backed securities (MBS) issued by the Korea Housing Finance Corp. (KHFC), the state-run long-term housing fund provider, when it conducts open market operations.
It means the BOK will control liquidity in the market by buying and selling the agency-issued MBS from financial institutions. Other securities subject to the liquidity control include government bonds, the BOK-issued currency stabilization bonds and government-guaranteed bonds.
The U.S. Federal Reserve began to buy MBS in the market only after the 2008 global financial crisis erupted with the collapse of its housing market. The BOK's MBS purchase indicated fears among South Korean economic and monetary policymakers that the country's housing or household debt market neared to the brink of collapse.
The KHFC has sold the MBS with home-backed loans as underlying assets to offer low-rate, long-term mortgages to low-income people. The BOK's MBS purchase will pull down the MBS rate, resulting in lower borrowing costs for the long-term mortgages.