SEOUL, April 4 (Xinhua) -- Overdue ratio in South Korean bank loans kept rising for two straight months as market rates advanced on expectations for the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate hike, financial watchdog data showed Tuesday.
The percentage of bank loans at least one month overdue to the total came in at 0.57 percent as of end-February, up 0.04 percentage points from a month earlier, according to the Financial Supervisory Service.
The overdue ratio declined to 0.47 percent in December last year, before rising both in January and February.
The higher delinquency ratio came as market rates here reflected higher expectations for the Fed's rate hike later this year.
Following a quarter percentage point rate increase by the Fed in December, the U.S. central bank indicated three rate hikes in 2017 alone. The bank raised its benchmark rate by 25 basis points in March to a range of 0.75-1.00 percent.
South Korea's central bank kept its policy rate at an all-time low of 1.25 percent since June last year. It had been cut from 3.25 percent in July 2012.
Newly delinquent bank loans in February reached 1.5 trillion won (1.3 billion U.S. dollars), bigger than 0.9 trillion won of bad debts resolved in the month.
As of end-February, the delinquency ratio for bank loans to companies stood at 0.79 percent, compared with 0.73 percent in the previous month.
The figure for household loans inched up 0.01 percentage point to 0.28 percent at the end of February. (1 U.S. dollar equals to 1,120 South Korean Won)