UPDATES WITH GOVERNMENT DEFICIT FIGURES
By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
ANKARA (AA) - The eurozone general government debt to the GDP ratio stood at 85.9% as of the first quarter end of 2019, EU’s statistical office reported Friday.
Eurostat said the figure went up 0.8 percentage points from 85.1% at the end of the last quarter of 2018.
On a yearly basis, the government debt to the GDP ratio fell in the euro area, down from 87.1% at the first quarter of 2018.
Official data revealed that Greece had the highest general government debt to the GDP ratio with 181.9%, marking a debt of some €337 billion ($380 billion).
A year earlier, the ratio was 177.9% in Greece with nearly €323 billion ($362 billion).
Greece was followed by Italy (134%), Portugal (123%), Belgium (105.1%), and the Greek Cypriot administration with 105% as of the end of March this year.
The lowest levels were seen in Estonia (8.1%), Bulgaria (21.2%), and Luxembourg with 21.3%.
"Compared with the fourth quarter of 2018, twelve member states registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the first quarter of 2019 and thirteen a decrease, while the ratio remained stable in Germany, Lithuania and Slovakia," the statistical office said.
The eurozone/euro area or EA19 represents member states that use the single currency -- euro -- while the EU28 includes all member countries of the bloc.
On Friday, Eurostat also announced that the seasonally adjusted general government deficit to the GDP ratio in EA19 was 0.5% in the first quarter of this year.
Official figures revealed that the general government deficit to the GDP ratio fell from 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
"In the first quarter of 2019, total government revenue in the euro area amounted to 46.0% of GDP, a decrease compared with 46.2% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
"Total government expenditure in the euro area stood at 46.5% of GDP, a decrease compared with 47.2% in the previous quarter," it said.