SEOUL, March 3 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's industrial lending grew in the fourth quarter as the COVID-19 resurgence and the tightened quarantine measures raised loan demand especially from the services industry, central bank data showed Wednesday.
The lending to all industries, extended by deposit takers, reached 1,393.6 trillion won (1.2 trillion U.S. dollars) as of the end of December, up 27.7 trillion won (24.7 billion U.S. dollars) from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).
During the October-December quarter, the lending to the services industry soared 28.7 trillion won (25.6 billion U.S. dollars), while the loan to manufacturers declined 2.2 trillion won (2 billion U.S. dollars).
The services industry, especially the lodging and eatery segment, was hit the hardest by the COVID-19 resurgence here that began since November last year.
The government toughened social-distancing guidelines, stopping or restricting the businesses of some mom-and-pop stores in a bid to help contain the virus spread.
For the whole year of 2020, the industrial lending spiked 185.9 trillion won (165.7 billion U.S. dollars), marking the highest since data began to be compiled.
Lending to the services industry surged at the fastest yearly pace of 138.8 trillion won (123.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020 amid the prolonged business slumps from the COVID-19 pandemic.