The number of South Koreans who filed for a personal debt bailout program rose in the first quarter, data showed on April 8, as the nation’s economy slows down over weak investments, global trade disputes and high household debts.
A total of 29,091 people applied for a state-managed bailout scheme in the first quarter, up 2,552 people from a quarter earlier, according to the data by the Credit Counseling and Recovery Service, which runs the bailout program.
People in their 40s accounted for about 30 percent of the individual debtors who applied for the bailout program in the first quarter, the data showed.
The government-assisted personal bailout program is designed to give a second chance to people on the verge of insolvency by rearranging their credit obligations and writing off their debt.
People who have a stable source of income and assets, and have less than 1 billion won ($879,000) in debt are eligible for the program.
The Korean economy expanded 2.7 percent in 2018, down from a solid 3.1 percent the previous year.
Earlier this month, the Asian Development Bank slashed its growth outlook for Korea’s economy this year to 2.5 percent.
The ADB’s latest estimate represents a drop from its previous forecast of 2.6 percent in December last year. It also said the Korean economy is projected to grow 2.5 percent in 2020.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)