S. Korea’s fiscal deficit widens through Oct.

SEOUL– South Korea’s fiscal deficit grew 18.7 trillion won (US$14.39 billion) in the first 10 months of this year from a year earlier due to spending on vulnerable groups amid the prolonged pandemic, data showed Thursday.

The managed fiscal balance, a key gauge of fiscal health calculated on a stricter term, posted a deficit of 85.3 trillion won in the January-October period, larger than a shortfall of 67.6 trillion won a year earlier, according to the Monthly Public Finance report released by the finance ministry.

South Korea’s tax revenue came to 355.6 trillion won during the cited period, up 47.8 trillion won from a year earlier, on the back of robust gains in income and corporate taxes on better business performances.

It brought up the total revenue to 537.6 trillion won for the first 10 months of this year, up 71.5 trillion won from a year earlier.

But the total expenditures rose to 580.7 trillion won from 509.2 trillion won logged in the same period a year earlier due to the increased spending on pandemic-hit small merchants and other COVID-19 responses.

South Korea has sought to tighten its belt in an effort to improve its financial health following years of expansionary fiscal spending.

The country plans to lower the fiscal deficit to a size equivalent to less than 3 percent of the gross domestic product over the next five years from the 5.1 percent estimate for this year.

The government’s debt came to 1,038.2 trillion won as of end-October, up 9.1 trillion won from a month earlier, the ministry said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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