S.Korea short-term FX debt ratio eases to 8-year low

SEOUL Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:06pm EST

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SEOUL Feb 19 (Reuters) - South Korea's ratio of short-term external debt to its foreign reserves eased to an 8-year low at the end of December last year, central bank data showed on Wednesday, as its reserves grew at a faster pace than debt.

The ratio of short-term external debt inched down to 32.6 percent at the end of December from 33.1 percent at the end of September, the quarterly data showed, marking the lowest since setting 31.3 percent at the end of 2005.

Short-term external debt owed by South Korea edged up to $112.8 billion by the end of December from $111.5 billion three months earlier while foreign reserves grew to $346.5 billion from $336.9 billion, the Bank of Korea data showed.

Asia's fourth-largest country had the world's seventh-largest foreign reserves as of the end of December.

South Korea's total external debt edged up to $416.6 billion by the end of last year from $411.0 billion at the end of September, the data showed.

The country's short-term external debt ratio has fallen steadily since touching as high as 79 percent in late 2008 on a series of government regulations introduced to curb overseas borrowings and on economic slowdown. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Choonsik Yoo)

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