Malta's national debt jumps to 75% of GDP
Malta's national debt within a year rose to 75% of GDP in the first quarter from 70.5% in the same quarter last year, according to data issued this morning by Eurostat, the EU's statistical arm.
In the Budget Speech, Finance Minister Tonio Fenech had projected the debt to be 68.9% of GDP by the end of this year.
Eurostat said that at the end of the first quarter of 2012, the debt to GDP ratio in the euro area (EA17) stood at 88.2%, compared with 87.3% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011.
In the EU27, the ratio increased from 82.5% to 83.4%.
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the first quarter of 2012 were recorded in Greece (132.4%), Italy (123.3%), Portugal (111.7%) and Ireland (108.5%), and the lowest in Estonia (6.6%), Bulgaria (16.7%) and Luxembourg (20.9%).
Compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, twenty-one Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the first quarter of 2012, and six a decrease. The highest increases in the ratio were recorded in Lithuania (+4.0 percentage points - pp), Portugal (+3.8 pp), Spain (+3.7 pp) and Belgium (+3.6 pp), and the largest decreases in Greece (-33.0 pp), Hungary (-1.8 pp) and Denmark (-1.5 pp). It should be noted that the change in debt ratio between two successive quarters can be influenced in some cases by seasonal patterns.
Compared with the first quarter of 2011, twenty-three Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the first quarter of 2012, and four a decrease. The highest increases in the ratio were recorded in Portugal (+17.2 pp), Cyprus (+11.0 pp) and Ireland (+8.2 pp), and the largest decreases in Greece6 (-20.0 pp) and Hungary (-4.1 pp).