South Korea's Overseas Debt Rises to a Record $412.5 Billion
By William Sim
June 15 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea's overseas debt expanded for a 14th straight quarter to a record on borrowing by local banks and companies.
Foreign debt climbed to $412.5 billion at the end of the first quarter from $382.2 billion three months earlier, the central bank said in Seoul today. Debt maturing within a year made up 52.3 percent of total overseas loans.
The economy came close to collapsing during the Asian financial crisis a decade ago partly because of a surge in short-term overseas debt that exceeded the country's foreign reserves. Standard & Poor's said in October that increasing foreign borrowing by financial companies puts ``downward pressure'' on South Korea's credit rating.
Short-term debt rose by $16.2 billion to $176.5 billion in the quarter, while long-term debt increased by $14.1 billion to $236 billion, today's report showed.
Borrowing by local and overseas branches of South Korean banks expanded by $20.3 billion to $214.4 billion. The government's foreign debt climbed by $820 million to $32.8 billion, the central bank said.
Last Updated: June 14, 2008 23:00 EDT