S. Korea's household credit falls in Q1

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SEOUL, May 21 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's household credit in the first quarter of 2024 marked the first fall in four quarters on the back of high interest rates and economic slowdown, central bank data showed Tuesday.

Household credit, which refers to debts owed by households to banks and other lenders in addition to the purchase on credit, amounted to 1,882.8 trillion won (1.38 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of March, down 2.5 trillion won (1.8 billion dollars) from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It marked the first reduction since the first quarter of last year due to high borrowing costs and rising worry about economic slump.

The central bank had left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.50 percent since January last year, after lifting it by 3 percentage points for the past one and a half years.

Excluding the purchase on credit, household debt shrank 200 billion won (146.4 million dollars) from three months earlier to 1,767,0 won (1.29 trillion dollars) at the end of March.

Mortgage loan to households gained 12.4 trillion won (9.1 billion dollars) during the January-March quarter on the offer of government-backed mortgage loans to prop up the faltering housing market.

Other loan to households, such as credit loan, tumbled 12.6 trillion won (9.2 billion dollars) during the first quarter amid mounting concerns about economic downturn.

The purchase on credit dwindled 2.3 trillion won (1.7 billion dollars) in the cited quarter, turning downward in three quarters. Enditem

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