SEOUL, May 23 (Xinhua) -- South Korean banks' loan delinquency ratio fell in March owing to higher settlement in non-performing loans, financial watchdog data showed Tuesday.
Bank loans, overdue at least one month, came to 0.33 percent of the total at the end of March, down 0.03 percentage points from a month earlier, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
After hitting bottom at 0.20 percent in June last year, the delinquency ratio had been roughly on the rise due to interest rate hikes.
However, the ratio turned downward in March as banks settled delinquent loans ahead of the quarter-end.
Banks settled 2.4 trillion won (1.8 billion U.S. dollars) worth of non-performing loans in the month, higher than new delinquent loans amounting to 1.7 trillion won (1.3 billion dollars).
Excluding the settled bad loan, the delinquency ratio for new bank loans has been on the increase from 0.04 percent in July to 0.05 percent in September, 0.07 percent in December and 0.08 percent in March, respectively.
The delinquency ratio for bank corporate loans slipped 0.04 percentage points from a month earlier to 0.35 percent at the end of March, and the ratio for household loans lost 0.01 percentage point to 0.31 percent. ■