SEOUL, March 4 (Xinhua) -- South Korean deposit-takers' lending to the services sector hit the fastest growth in the fourth quarter last year amid the lackluster consumer spending, central bank data showed Wednesday.
Outstanding debts, owed by services companies to deposit takers such as banks and savings banks, reached 741.9 trillion won (625.7 billion U.S. dollars) as of the end of December, up 22.7 trillion won (19.1 billion U.S. dollars) from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
It was the biggest quarterly increase since the BOK began compiling the data in 2008.
The weakening of private consumption led small retailers and companies in the eatery and lodging sector to borrow money from financial institutions in order to maintain businesses.
The number of newly created companies in the wholesale and retail and the eatery and lodging sectors grew 6,738 during the October-December quarter, higher than a gain of 6,172 tallied in the previous three-month period.
Lending to the manufacturing industry came in at 357.1 trillion won (301.2 billion U.S. dollars) as of end-December, up 0.1 trillion won (84.3 million U.S. dollars) from three months earlier.
The lending to construction companies fell 0.1 trillion won to 42.7 trillion won (36 billion U.S. dollars) in the cited period.