Saturday 24 February 2018

Ireland's debt levels are fourth in Europe

Eurozone debt has fallen for first time since 2007

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

IRELAND had the fourth highest government debt in Europe at the end of September last year, according to the latest data released by Eurostat.

Government debt in the Eurozone fell for the first time since the end of 2007. At the end of the third quarter, the debt-to-GDP average for the euro area was 92.7pc.

This is compared to 93.4pc in the previous quarter.

Ireland’s debt level was 124.8pc at the end of September. Debt-riddled Greece had the highest at 171.8pc, followed by Italy at 132.9pc, and Portugal at 128.7pc.

In the Budget, the Government forecast debt levels to fall to 120pc at the end of this year, dropping to 118.4pc at the end of 2015 and falling further to 114.6pc at the end of 2016. It is projected to fall to 93pc by 2020.

The countries with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio at the end of last September included Estonia at 10pc, Bulgaria at 17.3pc and Luxembourg at 27.7pc.

Europe's three biggest economies saw its debt fall, with Germany down to 78.4pc of its GDP and France down to 92.7pc.

Debt the bloc's third largest economy Italy dropped to 132.9pc from its peak of 133.3pc in the previous quarter, but it remains the euro zone's second highest after Greece.

The level of debt in a majority of eurozone countries remains well above the European Union's official limit of 60pc of the value of their economies.

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