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Korea’s public debt soars in first quarter

Korea’s public debt jumped by more than 50 trillion won ($46 billion) in the first quarter of this year as governments and public corporations increased borrowing to meet their financial needs, data showed Sunday.

According to the data by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Bank of Korea, debts owed by the central government, provincial administrations, state-invested companies and social security agencies totaled 763 trillion won as of the end of March, up 50.6 trillion won from three months earlier.

Liabilities of the governments and social security agencies rose by 18.5 trillion won to 413.2 trillion won, with debts of public companies jumping by 32.1 trillion won to 349.8 trillion won.

The increase in government debt was largely attributed to the issuance of state bonds, which rose by 15.9 trillion won to an outstanding 374.1 trillion won as of end-March.

Meanwhile, the debt of the central government came to 373.8 trillion won at the end of last year, up 27.7 trillion won from a year earlier, according to the data. 

(Yonhap News)