SEJONG, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's public sector debt growth accelerated in 2018, but its share of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) remained flat, the finance ministry said Thursday.
The country's public sector debt, known as D3, which includes the debt of the central government and state-funded firms, reached 1,078 trillion won (US$926 billion) as of end-2018, up 34 trillion won from a year ago, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
It accounted for 56.9 percent of the country's GDP last year, marking the same portion as seen in 2017.
The zero growth in public debt is compared with a 2.6 percent decline in 2017 and a 1 percent fall in 2016.
General government debt (D2), which covers the central and provincial governments, and nonprofit public institutions, stood at 759.7 trillion won, up 24.5 trillion won from a year earlier. Its percentage of GDP also remained flat at 40.1 percent last year.
National debt (D1) totaled 680.5 trillion won last year, accounting for 35.9 percent of GDP.
In terms of D2, Korea's economy had the fourth most favorable number as measured in the debt-to-GDP ratio among 33 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the ministry said.
Earlier this month, the National Assembly approved next year's state budget of 512.3 trillion won, up 9.1 percent from this year's.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki has said the national debt could rise to the upper end of 39 percent of GDP next year, due to the expansionary fiscal policy to prop up the nation's slowing economy.
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