March 15, 2018 / 12:41 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Canada Q4 household debt-to-income ratio dips, near record high

(Adds details of release, background)

OTTAWA, March 15 (Reuters) - Canadian household debt as a share of income, a measure closely watched by policy makers, slipped slightly in the fourth quarter from a record high in the third quarter, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.

The ratio of debt to disposable income dipped to 170.4 percent from 170.5 percent in the third quarter. Statscan revised the third quarter down from an initial 171.1 percent.

The Bank of Canada - which regularly expresses concerns about Canadians’ debt levels - has raised interest rates three times since July and says it is closely monitoring consumers for signs of stress.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, households borrowed C$26.0 billion ($20.0 billion) in the fourth quarter, up from C$23.5 billion in the preceding quarter.

Mortgage borrowing grew to C$16.0 billion from C$15.3 billion, the first rise after five consecutive falls.

The debt service ratio, which measures debt principal and interest payments as a proportion of income, remained flat at 13.8 percent.

($1=$1.30 Canadian)

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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