Growth of household debts in South Korea continued to slow amid efforts to contain further rise, but its debt structure remained fragile due to heavy dependence on high-rate loans, excessive debts compared with debt-servicing capabilities and growing multiple borrowers, data from related authorities showed Wednesday.
The country's household debts reduced 2.2 trillion won from three months earlier to 961.6 trillion won (843 billion U.S. dollars) as of end-March, the first decline in four years, according to reports submitted to lawmakers by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, Bank of Korea (BOK), the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
Debts owed to households rose slowly after the financial regulator introduced countermeasures against debts in the banking sector in June 2011 and measures to address debts in the non- banking sector in February 2012.
Despite the slower growth, its debt structure remained fragile. Household debts borrowed from the non-banking institutions accounted for 49.1 percent of the total as of end-March, up from 43.2 percent as of the end of 2008.
Debts from the non-banking institutions, which demand high interest payment, surged 51 percent over the cited period, topping the 19 percent growth in the banking sector.
Debt burden were heavy compared with debt-servicing capabilities. The ratio of household debts to disposable income in South Korea was 163.7 percent as of end-2011, higher than 119.6 percent in the United States, 159.6 percent in Britain and 131.6 percent in Japan.
Multiple borrowers, which borrow money from more than three lenders, raised their dependence on high-rate lenders. Among them, those who only depends on non-banking institutions took up 17.9 percent at the end of March. The figure continued to rise from 17. 5 percent as of end-2012 and 15.9 percent as of end-2010.