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General government gross debt to GDP ratio increased by 24.2 points in 2020

22/06/2021 09:31

The general government gross debt to GDP ratio increased in the European Union (EU) by 13.2 percentage points (from 77.5 % of GDP at the end of 2019 to 90.7 % of GDP at the end of 2020), according to a dataset updated today by Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU.

According to Eurostat, in the euro area the debt increased by 14.1 percentage points (from 83.9 % of GDP at the end of 2019 to 98.0 % of GDP at the end of 2020). 

At the level of the EU and euro area, the increases represent the sharpest increases observed in the time series since 1995, as well as the highest level of general government gross debt as a percentage of GDP recorded.

The debt to GDP ratio increased in all EU Member States between the end of 2019 and the end of 2020. The largest increases were recorded in Greece (+25.1 pp.), Spain (+24.5 pp.), Cyprus (+24.2 pp.), Italy (+21.2 pp.) and France (+18.1 pp.).

The share of government debt held by the (resident) financial corporations sector at the end of 2020 was the highest in Sweden (73 %), followed by Croatia and Denmark (both 67 %) and Czechia (64 %).

At the end of 2020, the ratio of initial short-term maturity debt to total debt for general government was significant in Sweden (29.9 %), Denmark (21.6 %), Portugal (16.7 %) and Finland (15.6 %) as well as Norway (21.3 %), while the short-term debt ratio also exceeded 10 % in the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Malta and Ireland.

At the end of 2020, the highest shares of short-term remaining maturity debt in total central government debt were reported by Sweden (39.7 %), followed by Estonia (28.4 %), Portugal (26.4 %), Latvia (23.8 %) and Italy (23.4 %), while the lowest shares were observed for Bulgaria (3.1 %) and Romania (3.6 %).

Of the reporting countries, only three countries issued more than 50 % of their debt in foreign currency: Bulgaria (82.0 %), Croatia (72.1 %) and Romania (51.1 %).

For 25 of the 27 EU Member States, the most used debt instrument remained debt securities at the end of 2020.

The apparent average cost of central government gross debt varied between 0.4 % in Estonia, 0.7 % in Finland, 0.8 % in Germany and 3.2 % in Hungary and 3.8 % in Romania in 2020. Comparing the 2020 data with 2019, decreases in implicit rates were observed for all reporting countries.

Between 2019 and 2020, the stock of guarantees granted by central governments increase for all countries for which data is available.