EUROPE: Public debt held by non-residents is highest in Cyprus

The share of public debt held by non-residents in the EU last year was highest in Cyprus (76%), followed by Latvia (74%) and Lithuania (73%), according to Eurostat.

In contrast, the largest proportion of debt held by the (resident) financial corporation sector was recorded in Denmark (72%), ahead of Sweden (70%) and Italy (65%).

From the 102.5% of total Cyprus debt to GDP ratio in 2018, 76.5% was held by non-residents, 19.8% by resident financial (financial corporations), 3.7% by resident non-financial sectors, 1.8% is short term ( and lt;1 year) and 0.7% is on currency and deposits, 50.9% is on debt securities, 48.5% on loans.

Across the EU, less than 10% of debt was held by the resident non-financial sectors (non-financial corporations, households and non-profit institutions serving households), except Malta (25%), Hungary (22%), Portugal (13%) and Ireland (11%).

With slightly above 20% of total government debt having a term below one year, Sweden registered the highest proportion of short-term initial maturities of debt among the Member States, ahead of Hungary (18%), Portugal (17%), Italy (13%) and Denmark (12%).

At the opposite end of the scale, almost all of the debt was made up of maturities exceeding one year in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Cyprus.

In 2018, debt securities were the main financial instrument in almost all EU states. This was notably the case in Czechia (90% of total general government debt) and Hungary (89%), followed by Malta and Slovenia (both 88%), the United Kingdom (87%), Spain, France and Slovakia (all 86%), as well as Italy (85%).

In contrast, loans largely prevailed in Estonia and Greece, where they accounted for 88% and 82% respectively.

The use of loans was also relatively high in Cyprus (48%), Luxembourg (32%), Croatia (31%), Sweden (30%) and Portugal (28%).

Currency and deposits generally made up a relatively small share of debt, except in Portugal (11%), Ireland and the United Kingdom (both 10%), and Italy (8%).

Source: The Financial Mirror