ECONOMY

Eurozone government debt/GDP ratio at 85.9% in Q1

The eurozone general government debt to GDP ratio stood at 85.9% as of the end of the first quarter of 2019, statistical office of the EU reported Friday.

Eurostat said the figure went up 0.8 percentage points from 85.1% at the end of the last quarter of 2018.

On a yearly basis, the government debt to GDP ratio fell in the euro area, down from 87.1% at the first quarter of 2018.

Official data revealed that Greece had the highest general government debt to GDP ratio with 181.9%, marking a debt of some €337 billion ($380 billion).

A year earlier, the ratio was 177.9% in Greece with nearly €323 billion ($362 billion).

Greece was followed by Italy (134%), Portugal (123%), Belgium (105.1%), and Greek Cypriot administration with 105% as of the end of March this year.

The lowest levels were seen in Estonia (8.1%), Bulgaria (21.2%), and Luxembourg with 21.3%.

"Compared with the fourth quarter of 2018, twelve member states registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the first quarter of 2019 and thirteen a decrease, while the ratio remained stable in Germany, Lithuania and Slovakia," the statistical office said.

The eurozone/euro area or EA19 represents member states that use the single currency -- euro -- while the EU28 includes all member countries of the bloc.

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