South Korean household borrowing climbs in May, biggest rise in 19 months

(Corrects milestone to biggest in 19 months, not 20, in headline, first paragraph)

SEOUL (Reuters) -Borrowing by South Korean households grew in May, marking the biggest increase in 19 months, as demand for mortgages climbs due to a loosening of regulations.

Total household borrowing from banks increased by 4.2 trillion won ($3.3 billion) or 0.4% to stand at 1,056.4 trillion won at the end of May, according to the Bank of Korea. It was a second straight month of gains after a 2.3 trillion won rise in April.

Total borrowing for the year to date is down 1.7 trillion won from the end of 2022. Borrowings for the whole of 2022 slid by 2.6 trillion won.

The central bank held interest rates steady for a third straight meeting last month. One and a half years of monetary tightening through January had brought a total of 300-basis-point increases.

($1 = 1,294.0800 won)

(Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)