Per capita national debt at record high

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Mar 08, 2014 - Page 13

The average national debt shouldered by each citizen in Taiwan rose to NT$237,000 (US$7,736) last month, the highest level since the government began to provide monthly updates on the debt situation in December 2010.

As of the end of last month, the central government’s long-term debt had reached NT$5.2973 trillion, up NT$105 billion from the previous month, while short-term debt had dropped NT$20 billion to NT$249.5 billion, the Ministry of Finance said yesterday.

The increase added NT$3,000 to each individual’s debt load, according to the ministry.

The rise was attributed to additional central government spending on subsidies for local governments, universities and elderly farmers, as well as on benefits for retired military personnel, the ministry said.

To tackle the deteriorating fiscal condition, the ministry on Feb. 24 announced a fiscal reform package, including ways to limit government debt, adjust the national expenditure structure and widen revenue sources.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s foreign exchange reserves hit a record high of US$417.98 billion last month, the central bank said on Wednesday.

The amount was up US$1.04 billion from the figure recorded at the end of January, which the bank attributed to proceeds from investments and the rise of reserve currencies, such as the euro, against the US dollar.