Mortgage-backed debt growth slowed in Q1

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Mortgage-backed debt growth slowed in Q1

The size of Korea’s mortgage-backed securities rose slightly in the first quarter of this year, but the pace of quarterly growth slowed because of the government’s efforts to curb mounting household debt, official data showed Wednesday.

The state-run Korea Housing Finance Corporation issued 9 trillion won ($8 billion) in mortgage-backed securities during the January-March period, up 300 billion won from the same period a year ago, the Financial Supervisory Service, the country’s financial regulator, said in a statement.

The slight gain in mortgage-backed securities came as the government began encouraging people to switch to lower and fixed-rate mortgage loans from the second half of last year, Financial Supervisory Service officials said.

“Mortgage loan sales were on the rise in the second half of 2016, based on which MBS [mortgage-backed securities] issuance has continuously increased,” the statement said.

Securities issued by the state-run housing financing company stood at 10.4 trillion won in the fourth quarter last year, 9.8 trillion won in the third quarter of last year and 5.9 trillion won in the second quarter of last year.

Household debt, which stood at 1,344 trillion won last year, has been cited as a major hurdle facing Korea’s economy as a mountain of debt threatens to choke off consumer spending.

During the first quarter of this year, asset-backed securities worth 13.9 trillion won were issued, up 3.2 percent on year, the Financial Supervisory Service’s data showed. Credit card firms boosted their issuance of asset-backed securities during the quarter, while installment finance companies’ issuance fell significantly.

“With rising interest rates and improved overseas issuance conditions, credit card companies expanded ABS [asset-backed securities] issuance abroad,” the statement said. YONHAP

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