SEOUL, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's household debt hit a new record high in the third quarter as the moderated measures against the COVID-19 pandemic boosted the purchase of goods and services on credit, central bank data showed Tuesday.
Household credit, which includes debt owed by households to banks and other lenders in addition to purchase on credit, came to 1,870.6 trillion won (1.38 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of September, up 2.2 trillion won (1.6 billion dollars) from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
It was the highest since relevant data began to be compiled in 2003, keeping an upward trend for the 38th straight quarter since the second quarter of 2013.
The purchase on credit gained 2.5 trillion won (1.8 billion dollars) from three months earlier to reach a new high of 113.8 trillion won (83.9 billion dollars) at the end of September.
The fast growth came as the government lifted all anti-virus measures, except an indoor mask mandate, in April to bolster private consumption.
Excluding the purchase on credit, the household credit shrank 300 billion won (221 million dollars) to 1,756.8 trillion won (1.3 trillion dollars) during the July-September quarter amid the higher interest rates.
The central bank began to tighten its monetary policy stance in August last year, hiking its policy rate in eight steps from a record low of 0.5 percent to 3.0 percent.
Mortgage loan to households increased 6.5 trillion won (4.8 billion dollars) during the third quarter, but credit loan reduced 6.8 trillion won (5 billion dollars), continuing to slide for the fourth consecutive quarter. ■