The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry says South Korea’s ratio of household debts to gross domestic product (GDP) is far higher than the average among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The chamber said the nation's ratio of household debts to GDP stood at 81 percent in 2010, well above the OECD average of 73 percent.
South Korea's figure is lower than Spain's ratio of household debt to GDP at 85 percent but still 20 percentage points higher than economically volatile Greece's ratio at 61 percent.
The growth rate of household debts, which had slowed since 2006, rose two-point-four percentage points year-on-year to nine-point-eight percent in 2010. The rate is the third highest among OECD members, following Greece and Turkey.
The chamber claimed that large household debts could cause an economic crisis in South Korea if the global economic depression continues and economic recovery is delayed at home. It said that the government should create jobs and seek other ways to help households earn more income and repay their debts.