Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to stop over in the U.S. on Friday on her way back from visiting diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, a move that's sure to make...China Politicsread more
Regional stability, oil prices and potential for war will all depend on what Iran does with its nuclear program in the event of the deal's termination.World Politicsread more
Libra and bitcoin are different in a lot of ways, from the technology behind them to the way they're used.Technologyread more
Stocks in major Asia Pacific markets made strong gains on Friday, as comments from a U.S. Federal Reserve official led to rising expectations the central bank could ease...Asia Marketsread more
Boeing will take a nearly $5 billion charge in the second quarter to compensate 737 Max customers as the planes remain grounded.Airlinesread more
Earlier, Williams delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the Central Bank Research Association in which he said, "It's better to take preventative measures than to wait...The Fedread more
The base version of the sports car will punch out 495 horsepower, 40 more than the seventh-generation car and enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in "less than three seconds"...Autosread more
Animation fans and Kyoto residents gathered at the site of Japan's worst mass killing in 18 years on Friday, offering flowers and prayers for the 33 people who died in an...Asia Newsread more
Trump said the USS Boxer destroyed Iran's drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday in a "defensive action."Politicsread more
Microsoft beat on top and bottom lines, and guidance was just ahead of expectations, but the company's Azure growth is slowing down.Technologyread more
"We've seen Netflix stumble before, especially maybe after a price hike, but not quite like this," Jim Cramer says.Mad Money with Jim Cramerread more
Household debt in Asia is growing quickly, spurring concerns that consumers may struggle to pay their bills as interest rates show signs of heading higher.
"In the last several years, consumer debt has surged across the region, financing not only purchases of new, flashy condos, but also of cars, motorcycles, and everything else the heart desires," Frederic Neumann, an economist at HSBC, said in a note Friday.
Singapore and Thailand have seen credit growth exceeding that of the U.S. during its boom, while Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Korea have seen a bigger increase than in the U.K. during the 2001-2007 runup to the financial crisis, he said, noting academic studies suggest the pace of increase matters more in generating financial risks than the absolute level.
In what may be a sign that Singapore's credit surge is weighing on consumers, pawnshops are on the rise in the city-state.
Pledges at Singapore's pawnshops rose to 4 million in 2012 from 2.7 million in 2007, while loans surged around 344 percent over the same period to 7.1 billion Singapore dollars in 2012, according to a report last month from OSK-DMG.
"The trend is likely to continue due to a few factors such as the availability of cheap credit fuelled by easy monetary policies from central bankers in advanced economies since the global financial crisis," analysts Jarick Seet and Terence Wong said in the report, starting coverage of the pawnbroker sector at Overweight.
While the 2010 opening of the city-state's casinos is likely a key driver for pawnshops' growth, Seet and Wong also believe that the government's clampdown on unsecured lending and credit cards means more borrowers are facing difficulties with debt payments and are turning to their local pawnbrokers.
The trend may be spreading, with all three of the city-state's listed pawnbrokers eyeing expanding into neighboring Malaysia, they said.
Read More Is Asia facing a housing debt crisis?
'No silver bullet' for consumer debt
Others are also worried about whether Asia's consumers are likely to struggle to cover their debt payments.
While Asian debt is generally considered "safer" because of the region's reliance on macro-prudential measures, such as stricter loan-to-income ratios, that might not be quite the hoped for "silver bullet," said Rob Subbaraman, chief economist for Asia ex-Japan at Nomura.
"There's some reason to believe they lose their effectiveness over time as loopholes are found," he said.
So far, consumers have been cushioned by interest rates which are lower than in the U.S. in the lead up to the housing bubble there, he noted.
"We may see a lot more wood rise to the surface when Asian interest rates rise from these low levels," he said.
The rate increases have already begun. On Thursday, the Philippine central bank raised its secondary interest rate after increasing its reserve requirement ratio for banks twice earlier this year. Indonesia's central bank has hiked rates five times since mid-2013.
"It's a high enough risk that at least half of the region's central banks should -- and we think they will - raise policy rates in the next 12 months," likely even before the U.S. Federal Reserve acts, Subbaraman said.
To be sure, it isn't clear that the consumer credit binge is likely to lead to an actual credit crisis.
Even though he's sounding an alarm over Asia's credit growth, HSBC's Neumann believes a sudden credit blowup is unlikely due to the region's stricter lending standards compared with the U.S. and the U.K.
But he added, "household debt may not be as big a systemic financial risk as it was in the West, but it highlights a potential growth problem in Asia: without it, how resilient would consumption spending really be?"
—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter