SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korea plans to sell state bonds worth 176.4 trillion won (US$161.8 billion) next year, the finance ministry said Friday, as the country will increase fiscal spending to cope with the fallout of the new coronavirus outbreak.

The planned debt sale marks a rise of 1.1 percent, or 1.9 trillion won, from this year, when Treasurys worth 174.5 trillion won were sold, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The government plans to sell a net 113.2 trillion won in state bonds next year, down 2 trillion won on-year, the ministry said. It plans to refinance Treasurys worth 63.2 trillion won in 2021, up 3.9 trillion won from this year.’

The government plans to increase fiscal spending next year in a bid to cushion the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and prop up the slowing economy.

Earlier this month, the National Assembly passed a record 558 trillion-won national budget for next year that includes nearly 4 trillion won allocated for additional coronavirus relief funds and vaccine purchases.

The government plans to issue deficit-covering bonds worth 93.5 trillion won next year to help finance the planned massive fiscal spending.

The ministry plans to frontload 72.4 percent of fiscal spending in the first half of next year.

The country’s debt is expected to reach 956 trillion won next year, up 150.8 trillion won from this year. The country’s debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio, a gauge of a nation’s financial health, will reach 47.3 percent in 2021, higher than just below 40 percent before the pandemic.