South Korea’s bank loans extended to self-employed businesses and individuals surpassed the 300 trillion won ($279.3 billion) mark for the first time last month, expanding at a rapid pace in line with worsening job data, central bank data showed on Tuesday.
According to data released by the Bank of Korea, outstanding bank loans extended to self-employed individuals totaled 300.2 trillion won last month, up 2.1 trillion won from a month ago. It is the first time for the figure to pass the 300 trillion won mark.
Data also showed that loans increased at the fastest pace. Loans held by self-employed businesses stretched by 11.3 trillion won in the January-May period, a pace first seen since the central bank began compiling related data in 2008. The amount increased by 8.5 trillion won in 2016 and 8.9 trillion won in 2017.
Industry analysts noted that individual businesses particularly in the real estate and leasing service sectors received more loans from financial institutions last month amid the country’s booming property market. Some individuals registered for business license after banks toughened guidelines for consumer loans.
Increasing unemployment rate also would be behind the surge in loans for self-employed businesses.
By Yoon Won-sup and Lee Eun-joo
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