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Largest share of public debt held by non-residents

Jun 10, 2015 | News

(10 June 2015) – A report released by Eurostat provides detailed information on general government debt in the EU Member States.

In 2014, debt securities were the main financial instrument in all EU Member States, except Estonia, Greece and Cyprus where loans accounted for 87%, 77% and 65% respectively. The use of loans was also high in Portugal (44%), Luxembourg (41%), Latvia (39%), Croatia (38%) and Bulgaria (37%).

On the other hand, the highest proportions of debt financed by debt securities were recorded in Malta (92% of total government debt), the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom (both 89%), Slovenia and Slovakia (both 87%), Hungary (86%), France and Italy (both 84%). The use of currency and deposits was in general very low, except in Ireland (10%), the United Kingdom (9%), Italy (8%) and Portugal (7%).

According to the report, significant differences can be observed across the EU regarding the sector in which the government debt is held. The share of public debt held by the non-resident sector in 2014 was highest in Finland (81% of total government debt) and Latvia (80%), followed by Austria (76%), Lithuania (73%), Slovenia (71%) and Portugal (70%).

In contrast, the largest proportion of debt held by the resident financial sector was recorded in Luxembourg (98%), well ahead of Romania (74%), the Czech Republic (63%) and Croatia (59%). Generally across the EU, less than 10% of debt was held by the resident non-financial sector, with the noticeable exceptions of Malta (36%), Belgium (13%), Hungary (12%), Ireland and Italy (both 10%).

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