SEOUL, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Foreign currency lending in South Korea continued to fall as regulatory restrictions and stronger won boosted repayment of such loans, financial watchdog data showed on Thursday.
Outstanding foreign currency loans lent by local banks to South Korean residents were 29.9 billion U.S. dollars as of the end of 2012, according to the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS). It was down from 35.5 billion dollars a year earlier and 43.1 billion dollars four years ago.
The continued fall came after the use of foreign currency loans was confined in June 2010 to companies' overseas needs and smaller manufacturers' facility-investment purpose.
Stronger won led the foreign currency borrowers to repay debts as the won's ascent reduced the value of foreign currency loans when converted.
The local currency rose 7.7 percent versus the greenback last year, while surging 19.1 percent to the Japanese yen. Loans denominated in the dollar and the yen decreased by 2.6 billion dollars and 2.9 billion dollars each in 2012.
The ratio of delinquent loans overdue more than one day tumbled 0.5 percentage point from a year earlier to 0.83 percent as of end- 2012 after banks actively cleared up bad debts last year through write-offs and sales.
It was much lower than the 1.18 percent for loans denominated in the South Korean currency as of the end of last year.