Malta had the highest proportion of resident non-financial sector debt in the EU at 28% while it placed fourth as regards the proportion of debt held by the resident financial corporations sector at 62%. Malta also has the highest proportion of government debt in the form of securities at a staggering 93% of total debt.
Significant differences can be observed across the European Union (EU) regarding the sector in which government debt is held. Among Member States for which data are available, the share of public debt held by non-residents in 2016 was highest in Cyprus (79%), followed by Latvia (72%), Austria (71%), Finland (70%) and Lithuania (69%). In contrast, the largest proportion of debt held by the (resident) financial corporations sector was recorded in Denmark (67%), ahead of Sweden (64%), Luxembourg (63%), Croatia, Italy and Malta (all 62%).
Generally across the EU, less than 10% of debt was held by the resident non-financial sectors (non-financial corporations, households and non-profit institutions serving households), with the noticeable exceptions of Malta (28%), Hungary (18%), Ireland and Portugal (both 11%).
Highest shares of short-term initial maturity in Sweden, Hungary and Portugal
With 22% of total government debt having a term below one year, Sweden registered in 2016 the highest proportion of short-term initial maturities of debt among the Member States, ahead of Hungary (19%) and Portugal (17%). Italy (13%), Denmark (11%), the Netherlands and France (both 10%) also recorded shares of short-term maturity debt above 10%. At the opposite end of the scale, almost all debt was made up of long-term maturities in Bulgaria, Poland, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
General government gross debt mainly financed by debt securities in most Member States
In 2016, debt securities were the main financial instrument in almost all Member States. This was notably the case in Malta (93% of total general government debt), the Czech Republic (91%), Hungary and the United Kingdom (both 88%), Slovakia and France (both 85%), Italy and Slovenia (both 84%), Spain and Austria (both 83%) as well as Belgium (82%). In contrast, loans largely prevailed in Estonia, Greece and Cyprus, where they accounted for 87%, 80% and 67% respectively. The use of loans was also high in Luxembourg (40%), Portugal (36%) and Croatia (35%). Currency and deposits generally made up a relatively small share of debt, except in Ireland (11%), the United Kingdom (10%), Portugal (9%) and Italy (8%).