Korea’s public account turns to deficit in 2020 on COVID-19 spending

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South Korea’s public account surplus turned to deficit in 2020 as the government increased fiscal spending to cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, central bank data showed Thursday.

In 2020, the country’s public account deficit came to 50.6 trillion won (US$43.3 billion), according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The deficit compared with a 14.7 trillion won surplus in 2019, when the country’s public account balance continued to stay in the black for the fifth consecutive year.

Overall income in the public sector came to some 883.4 trillion won, up 0.6 percent from 2019.

Total spending grew at a faster clip, gaining 8.1 percent from a year earlier to 934 trillion won in 2019, according to the data.

Public income and spending consist of those of the government and all other public entities, including state-run enterprises.