Estonia records EU's lowest government debt in Q3

29.01.2013, 11:52

Estonia had the lowest government debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio at 9.6% at the end of the third quarter, according to the latest data from the EU's statistical office Eurostat.

Estonia was followed by Bulgaria (18.7%) and Luxembourg (20.9%).

Latvia’s figure stood at 40.4% and was the sixth lowest government debt across the European Union, while Lithuania's government debt amounted to 40.6%, the seventh lowest in the EU.

The highest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Greece – 152.6%, Italy – 127.3%, Portugal – 120.3%, and Ireland – 117%.

Compared with the second quarter of 2012, 15 member states registered increases in their debt to GDP ratio in the third quarter, 11 saw decreases, while one did not register any changes.

The steepest increase was registered in Ireland – 5%, followed by Greece – 3.4%, and Portugal – 2.9%.

The largest decrease was recorded in Latvia – 2.6%, Malta – 2.5%, and Austria – 1.3%.

Compared to the respective period in 2011, the government debt to GDP ratio reduced only in five countries – Greece – 11.1%, Hungary – 4.8%, Latvia – 3.6%, Denmark – 1.5%, and Poland – 0.4%.

All other countries registered increases in their government debt to GDP ratios. Cyprus registered the largest increase – 17.5%, followed by Ireland – 13.4%, and Spain – 10.7%.

At the end of the third quarter of 2012, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area stood at 90%, compared with 89.9% at the end of the second quarter of 2012. In the EU, the ratio was 85.1%, compared with 85%. Compared with the third quarter of 2011, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 86.8% to 90%) and the EU (from 81.5% to 85.1%).