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Korea’s debt-GDP ratio not low given aging population: report

[THE INVESTOR] South Korea’s national debt to gross domestic product ratio is lower than advanced nations, but not that low given its aging population, a report shows on Oct. 26.

The National Assembly Budget Office said in the report that Seoul thus needs to step up efforts to bolster its fiscal soundness as its national debt has been rising at a much faster clip in the 2010s than countries in Southern Europe that suffered a debt crisis.

According to the report, South Korea’s debt-GDP ratio stood at 44.8 percent in 2015, far lower than the average 115.5 percent for all members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

However, the ratio was not that low compared with the ratios of advanced economies in light of its population aging and income level.

The ratio is estimated to reach 40.9 percent in 2018, when it becomes an “aged society,” in which more than 14 percent of the population is 65 or older. The country became an “aging society” in 2000, when the ratio topped 7 percent.

(theinvestor@heraldcorp.com)
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