At the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA19) stood at 85.1%, compared with 86.4% at the end of the third quarter of 2018. In the EU28, the ratio decreased from 81.0% to 80.0%. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, the government debt to GDP ratio fell in both the euro area (from 87.1% to 85.1%) and the EU28 (from 81.7% to 80.0%).
At the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, debt securities accounted for 80.9% of euro area and for 81.6% of EU28 general government debt. Loans made up 16.0% and 14.2% respectively and currency and deposits represented 3.1% of euro area and 4.1% of EU28 government debt. Due to the involvement of EU Member States’ governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) is also published. The share of IGL in GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 amounted to 2.0% in the euro area and to 1.5% in the EU28.
These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
|Government debt||(million euro)||9 760 551||9 931 722||9 859 514|
|(% of GDP)||87.1||86.4||85.1|
|Of which: Currency and deposits||(million euro)||290 034||302 022||301 259|
|(% of total debt)||3.0||3.0||3.1|
|Debt securities||(million euro)||7 846 801||8 045 057||7 976 342|
|(% of total debt)||80.4||81.0||80.9|
|Loans||(million euro)||1 623 716||1 584 644||1 581 911|
|(% of total debt)||16.6||16.0||16.0|
|Memo: Intergovernmental lending in the context of the financial crisis||(million euro)||230 947||230 858||231 176|
|(% of GDP)||2.1||2.0||2.0|
|Government debt||(million euro)||12 579 778||12 768 841||12 715 250|
|(% of GDP)||81.7||81.0||80.0|
|Of which: Currency and deposits||(million euro)||514 587||534 233||526 895|
|(% of total debt)||4.1||4.2||4.1|
|Debt securities||(million euro)||10 229 091||10 444 508||10 380 914|
|(% of total debt)||81.3||81.8||81.6|
|Loans||(million euro)||1 836 100||1 790 101||1 807 440|
|(% of total debt)||14.6||14.0||14.2|
|Memo: Intergovernmental lending in the context of the financial crisis||(million euro)||234 583||234 494||234 782|
|(% of GDP)||1.5||1.5||1.5|
Government debt at the end of the fourth quarter 2018 by Member State
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018 were recorded in Greece (181.1%), Italy (132.2%), Portugal (121.5%), Cyprus (102.5%) and Belgium (102.0%), and the lowest in Estonia (8.4%), Luxembourg (21.4%) and Bulgaria (22.6%).
Compared with the third quarter of 2018, four Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, twenty-three a decrease and the ratio remained stable in Malta. The increases in the ratio were recorded in Romania (+0.8 percentage points – pp), the United Kingdom and Sweden (both +0.6 pp) as well as Finland (+0.1 pp). The largest decreases were recorded in Cyprus (-7.6 pp), Ireland
(-4.0 pp), Portugal and Belgium (both -3.3 pp).
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, three Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, twenty-four a decrease and France recorded no change. An increase in the ratio was recorded in Cyprus (+6.8 pp), Greece (+5.0 pp) and Italy (+0.8 pp), while the largest decreases were recorded in Lithuania(-5.2 pp), the Netherlands (-4.5 pp), Austria (-4.4 pp), Malta (-4.2 pp) and Latvia (-4.0 pp).
The euro area (EA19) consists of Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland.
The EU28 includes Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Methods and definitions
Quarterly data on government debt are collected from the Member States according to European System of Accounts (ESA 2010), see Annex B, ESA 2010 transmission programme, and refer to the Maastricht debt definition.
The general government debt is defined as the consolidated gross debt of the whole of the general government sector outstanding at the end of the quarter (at face value). General government debt consists of liabilities of general government in the following financial instruments: currency and deposits (AF.2); debt securities (AF.3) and loans (AF.4), as defined in ESA 2010.
The debt to GDP ratio is calculated for each quarter using the sum of quarterly GDP for the four last quarters. Quarterly data on GDP are the most recent transmitted by the EU Member States. While quarterly debt figures are consistent with annual debt figures at coinciding publications, differences between quarterly and annual GDP figures can occur. For this release, the quarterly GDP for France, Poland and the EU and euro area aggregates has been adjusted to the annual GDP transmitted in the context of the Excessive Deficit Procedure.
For the purpose of proper consolidation of general government debt and to provide users with information, Eurostat publishes data on government loans (IGL) to other EU governments and these loans have been deducted from euro area and EU debt. The concepts and definitions are based on ESA 2010 and on the rules relating to the statistics for the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP). The data covered is stock of loans related to claims on other EU Member States. The valuation basis is the stock of loans at face value outstanding at end of each quarter. From the first quarter of 2011 onwards, the intergovernmental lending figures relate mainly to lending to Greece, Ireland and Portugal and include loans made by the European Financial Stability Facility.
For stock data such as general government debt, end of period exchange rates are used in the compilation of the EU aggregates. For flow data, such as GDP, average exchange rates are used. The EU28 aggregate, denominated in euro, can fluctuate as a result of exchange rate movements between the euro and other EU currencies.
Issued by: Eurostat Press Office