The Federal Reserve Board said Wednesday that foreign borrowers owed U.S. banks $516.3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, up 7.7% from Sept. 30.

Japanese borrowers accounted for the bulk of the increase. They owed $51.7 billion, up nearly $20 billion. Germans owed $69.1 billion, up $12 billion. Developing countries in Asia owed $35.7 billion, down $2 billion due to a drop in borrowing by Korean, Thai, and Indonesian companies. Borrowing by Koreans alone dropped by $1.2 billion, to $12.9 billion.

Foreign borrowers owed money-center banks $389.9 billion, down $40 billion. The money centers are BankAmerica Corp., Bank One Corp., Bankers Trust Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., Citigroup, and J.P. Morgan & Co.

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