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Government debt rises in Europe

July 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM

BRUSSELS, July 22 (UPI) -- Government debt rose in Europe as a ratio of the region's gross domestic product, the European Commission's data office said Monday.

At the end of the first quarter, government debt in the 17-member eurozone rose to 92.2 percent of the region's GDP, which is the total economic output of goods and services. At the end of the fourth quarter the debt to GDP ratio was 90.6 percent, the agency said.

In the 27-member European Union -- using data before Croatia joined in July -- the ration of government debt to GDP stood at 85.9 percent at the end of the first quarter, up from 85.2 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.

By comparison, at the end of the first quarter of 2012, the ratio stood at 88.2 percent for the eurozone and 83.3 percent for the European Union.

Eurostat is also tracking intergovernmental lending, which has been extended to Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain to reduce their debt to GDP ratios.

The share of intergovernmental lending came to 2.1 percent of the GDP for the eurozone at the end of the first quarter of the year and 1.6 percent for the European Union.

At the end of the first quarter, the highest government debt to GDP ratios were posted by Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland with ratios of 160.5 percent, 130.3 percent, 127.2 percent and 125.1 percent, respectively.

The lowest ratios were posted by Estonia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg with ratios of 10 percent, 18 percent and 22.4 percent, respectively.

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