Tuesday, February 7

National household debt to GDP ratio stood at 89.1 pct


KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s national household debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio in 2015 stood at 89.1 per cent, the Dewan Negara was told yesterday.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said the bulk of the debt was capitalised on asset and wealth accumulation, including loans for the purchase of real estate and financial asset investments.

“Of the total debt, 56.2 per cent were for loans to buy houses and real estate for residential and non-residential purposes, while vehicle purchase accounted for 15.5 per cent,” he said.

He was responding to Senator Datuk Norliza Abdul Rahim who sought a clarification over a report that Malaysia’s household debt burden was at 68 per cent, making the country’s households among the most indebted in eight countries in Asia.

Chua said the demand for the purchase of residential properties and vehicles were expected to continue in the next few years with rising income levels on the back of growing economy and rapid urbanisation.

“Confidence borrowers’ ability to repay loans as reflected by the low level of impaired loans at 1.1 per cent and ownership of property assets at higher prices in the future will continue to allow eligible households to purchase assets through loans,” he said.

He said the ability of households to repay debt was also supported by manpower situation and stable income levels and strong household financial aggregate buffers with household financial asset ratio to debt is two times higher than household debt.

Concern over high household indebtedness, he said the government had introduced various measures since 2010 to curb its growth and bring it under control, as well as to ensure prudent credit management practices.

Asserting that the growth of household indebtedness has moderated and debtors becoming more aware of their debt affordability, he said at end of 2015, the growth rate of household debt declined to 7.3 per cent from 9.4 per cent in 2014 and 12.2 per cent in 2013. — Bernama