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S. Korea's external debt up US$32 bln in end-2022: data

12:00 February 22, 2023

SEJONG, Feb. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's external debt increased US$32.1 billion as of end-2022 from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday, led by both short and long term loans.

The country's external liabilities came to $664.5 billion as of end-2022, up from $632.4 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK) and the finance ministry.

Of the total, the country's short-term debt that matures in a year increased $2 billion to $166.7 billion, while the long-term debt jumped $30 billion over the period to hit $497.8 billion.

The ratio of short-term debt to foreign reserves moved up 3.8 percentage points on-year to reach 39.4 percent at end-2022. A higher ratio means weaker debt-serving capability.

The ratio of short-term debt to total external liabilities fell 1 percentage point on-quarter to 25.1 percent, the data showed. It was the lowest since 23.3 percent tallied in 1998.

Meanwhile, the country's total external assets shrank $54.7 billion on-year to $1.02 trillion.

Its net external assets -- assets minus liabilities -- totaled $361.2 billion as of the end-2022, down $86.8 billion from a year earlier, the data showed.

"As uncertainties in the global financial market continue, including the direction of the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate hike, we plan to closely monitor the country's external debts under cooperation with related organizations," the finance ministry said.

Staff members inspect bills at a branch of the Bank of Korea in Suwon, south of Seoul, on Jan. 17, 2023. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)



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