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 2017 was highest in Cyprus (82%), followed by Lithuania (73%), Latvia (68%), Finland, Austria and Slovenia (all 67%). In contrast, the largest proportion of debt held by the (resident) financial corporations sector was recorded in Sweden and Denmark (both 69%), ahead of the Netherlands, Malta and Italy (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 (26%), Hungary (20%), Portugal (13%) and Ireland (11%).
This information comes from an article released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. It provides detailed information on general government debt in the EU Member States broken down by subsector, financial instrument, debt holder, maturity, currency of issuance as well as government guarantees and other features. Only a small selection of data is published in this news release.
Highest shares of short-term initial maturity in Sweden, Hungary and Portugal
With almost 25% of total government debt having a term below one year, Sweden registered the highest proportion of short-term initial maturities of debt among the Member States in 2017, ahead of Hungary (18%) and Portugal (17%). Italy (13%), Denmark (11%), Finland and France (both 10%) also recorded shares of short-term maturity debt around or above 10%. At the opposite end of the scale, almost all of the debt was made up of long-term maturities in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.
General government gross debt mainly financed by debt securities in most Member States
In 2017, debt securities were the main financial instrument in almost all Member States. This was notably the case in the Czech Republic (92% of total general government debt) and Malta (91%), followed by Hungary (88%), the United Kingdom and Slovenia (both 87%), Slovakia (86%), France and Spain (both 85%) as well as Italy (84%). In contrast, loans largely prevailed in Estonia, Greece and Cyprus, where they accounted for 85%, 81% and 64% respectively. The use of loans was also relatively high in Luxembourg (33%), Croatia (32%), Portugal (31%) and Sweden (29%). Currency and deposits generally made up a relatively small share of debt, except in Ireland, the United Kingdom (both 11%), Portugal (10%) and Italy (8%).