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Foreign debt totals $133.4 bil. end of Jan.

Posted March. 07, 2001 18:10,   


Korea`s total foreign debt decreased in January for the sixth month in a row.

According to the Ministry of Finance and Economy Wednesday, Korea`s total foreign debt decreased by $2.9 billion from the end of December last year to $133.4 billion at the end of January, the sixth straight reduction since last August. The figure was the lowest since the 1997-98 foreign exchange crisis.

The reduction in total foreign debt was attributed to the earlier repayment of $1 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the reimbursement of $1.8 billion in short- and long-term borrowings by financial institutions.

Owing to the decrease in short-term borrowings by financial institutions and the curtailment of trade-related credit by private companies, short-term foreign debt fell by $1.9 billion to $42.3 billion. The ratios of short-term foreign debt and current debt against foreign exchange holdings, which represent a nation`s external repayment ability, were 44.3% and 58.5%, respectively. These figures were off 1.6 and 2.9 percentage points, respectively, and reached their lowest levels since the foreign exchange crisis.

Korea`s total external credit dwindled by $1.4 billion to $165.5 billion and its net credit, which excludes total foreign debt from total external credit figure, grew by $1.5 billion to $32.1 billion. Korea has enjoyed net creditor status since September 1999.