Government debt to GDP ratio continues to decrease both in the EU28 and the Euroarea

The government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA19) stood at 85.1% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with 86.4% at the end of the third quarter of 2018, according to data released today by Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU. In the EU28, the ratio decreased from 81.0% to 80.0%.

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, the government debt to GDP ratio fell in both the euro area (from 87.1% to 85.1%) and the EU28 (from 81.7% to 80.0%).

More specifically, at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, debt securities accounted for 80.9% of euro area and for 81.6% of EU28 general government debt. Loans made up 16.0% and 14.2% respectively and currency and deposits represented 3.1% of euro area and 4.1% of EU28 government debt. Due to the involvement of EU Member States governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) is also published. The share of IGL in GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 amounted to 2.0% in the euro area and to 1.5% in the EU28.

More specifically, public debt in Cyprus stood at 18.814 billion in the 2017Q4, increased to 22.623 billion in 2018Q3 and decreased to 21.258 billion for 2018Q4 (at 95.8%, 110.1% and 102.5% of GDP respectively). The difference in pp of GDP in 2018 Q4 compared with 2017Q4 is 6.8 and compared with 2018Q3 is -7.6. Out of the total debt, 0.7% of GDP corresponds to currency and deposits, 52.2% to debt Securities, 49.7% to loans and 1.6% to IGL.

For Greece general government gross debt stood at 317.485 billion for 2017Q4, at 335.033 billion for 2018Q3 and 334.573 billion for 2018Q4 (or 176.2%, 182.3% and 181.1% of GDP respectively). This corresponds to a 5.0pp increase compared to 2017Q4 and -1.2pp decrease compared to 2018Q3. Out of the total debt, 3.3% of GDP corresponds to currency and deposits, 28.6% to debt Securities, 149.2% to loans and 0.0% to IGL.

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 were recorded in Greece (181.1%), Italy (132.2%), Portugal (121.5%), Cyprus (102.5%) and Belgium (102.0%), and the lowest in Estonia (8.4%), Luxembourg (21.4%) and Bulgaria (22.6%).

Compared with the third quarter of 2018, four Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, twenty-three a decrease and the ratio remained stable in Malta. The increases in the ratio were recorded in Romania (+0.8 percentage points � pp), the United Kingdom and Sweden (both +0.6 pp) as well as Finland (+0.1 pp). The largest decreases were recorded in Cyprus (-7.6 pp), Ireland (-4.0 pp), Portugal and Belgium (both -3.3 pp).

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, three Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, twenty-four a decrease and France recorded no change. An increase in the ratio was recorded in Cyprus (+6.8 pp), Greece (+5.0 pp) and Italy (+0.8 pp), while the largest decreases were recorded in Lithuania (-5.2 pp), the Netherlands (-4.5 pp), Austria (-4.4 pp), Malta (-4.2 pp) and Latvia (-4.0 pp).

Source: Cyprus News Agency