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S. Korea Sees Record Fiscal Deficit in 2009
Source: english.chosun.com
Source Date: Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Korea (Republic of)
Created: Apr 12, 2010

Korea's fiscal deficit soared to a record W43.2 trillion last year as the government issued bonds to finance its economic stimulus measures to overcome the global financial crisis (US$1=W1,123).

The Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Tuesday said the deficit is equivalent to 4.1 percent of Korea's entire 2009 GDP, which amounted to W1,064.1 trillion. It was the first time ever that Korea's fiscal deficit amounted to more than W40 trillion in one year. The previous record was in 1999, just after Korea turned to the IMF for an emergency bailout, when the deficit reached W20.4 trillion or 5 percent of GDP.

With the increased fiscal deficit, the total national debt including liabilities shouldered by the central and regional governments, was tallied at W359.6 trillion, up W50.6 trillion from 2008. This means per-capita debt also rose from W6.23 million in 2008 to W7.22 million in 2009.

As a result, Korea's debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 33.8 percent last year, up 3.7 points from 2008. Debts shouldered by state-run businesses were excluded from the amount. The ratio was lower than the G20 average of 75.1 percent, but there are concerns about the pace of growth in fiscal liabilities.

The government's tax revenues totaled W261.3 trillion last year, up W29.2 trillion (12.6 percent) from 2008.
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