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S. Korea's national debt growing sharply since 1997 crisis: data

South Korea's national debt has been growing sharply over the past decades, data showed Friday, raising concerns that such ballooning debt could weigh on its fiscal health going forward.

According to the data by the finance ministry, the country's national debt is projected to expand from 480.3 trillion won this year to 515.2 trillion won ($478.4 billion) next year. The debt projected for 2014 represents an 8.5-fold rise from 60.3 trillion won tallied in 1997.

The country's national debt increased by 20.1 trillion won in 1998, affected by the Asian financial crisis. The debt also grew by 37.9 trillion won in 2004, right after the credit card debacle and expanded by 50.6 trillion won in 2008 when the country was still struggling to recover from the global financial crisis.

The country's economy, meanwhile, has been growing at a much slower pace over the same cited period.

Its nominal gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to be 1,410 trillion won next year, which represents a 2.8-fold rise from 506 trillion won in 1997, according to the data.

The debt-to-GDP ratio is also expected to grow sharply from 11.9 percent in 1997 to 36.5 percent next year. Based on such figures, the per-capita debt will likely exceed 10 million won for the first time next year, the data showed. (Yonhap News)

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