Greek debt back on the upswing, reached 171 per cent in third quarter

Greece's public debt swung back up in the third quarter of last year, reaching 171 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and registering one of the largest quarterly increases in Europe, new data showed Friday.

Government debt has been at the core of the economic woes that have plagued the Mediterranean country, which has received three bailouts since 2010.

Experts from its international creditors are expected to soon start reviewing progress made by the country on bailout-related reforms, in a process that Athens hopes will lead to further debt relief.

Greece's public debt amounted to 301.9 billion euros (327.6 billion dollars) in July to September 2015, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said Friday. Loans made up the lion's share at 134.9 per cent of GDP.

The country saw the second largest increase of public debt in the EU - after Slovenia - when compared to the previous quarter, during which Greek debt stood at 168.9 per cent of GDP, Eurostat said.

However, in comparison to the third quarter of 2014, Greek debt has dropped by 6.6 percentage points, the second largest year-on-year decrease in the 28-country EU after Ireland.

Following Greece, Italy and Portugal have the largest public debts in the bloc. In the third quarter of last year, they stood at 134.6 and 130.5 per cent respectively, Eurostat said.

Italy registered the second largest quarterly decrease in debt, while Portugal saw the third largest quarter-on-quarter increase.

The lowest debt levels were recorded in Estonia (9.8 per cent), Luxembourg (21.3 per cent) and Bulgaria (26.9 per cent).

Under EU rules, governments should have public debt no higher than 60 per cent. Only 11 countries comply with that requirement, according to Eurostat: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.

Last update: Fri, 22/01/2016 - 11:12

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