March 7, 2013 / 10:54 AM / 5 years ago

Austrian borrowers' FX loan rate drops below 25 pct

VIENNA, March 7 (Reuters) - Austrian private borrowers cut their exposure to foreign currency to below 25 percent of all loans in the fourth quarter, the FMA markets watchdog said on Thursday.

The watchdog stopped the issue of new foreign-exchange loans four years ago after thousands of Austrians borrowed in Swiss francs to take advantage of cheap mortgage rates, only to see the franc rise 37 percent against the euro since the start of 2008.

The FMA said the percentage of loans now held in foreign currencies - 94 percent of it in Swiss francs and most of the rest in Japanese yen - was now at a 10-year low.

Private foreign currency loans totalled 31.7 billion euros ($41.2 billion) at the end of December, down 15 percent year-on-year, it said.

The Swiss National Bank has now capped the franc at 1.20 to the euro. ($1 = 0.7692 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Patrick Graham)

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