Greece posts highest state debt/GDP ratio in eurozone

By Muhammed Ali Gurtas

ANKARA (AA) – Greece recorded the highest general government-debt-to-GDP ratio in the euro area for the second quarter, the EU’s statistics office announced Tuesday.

According to Eurostat, Greek government's gross debt stock totaled €323.4 billion ($385 billion) at the end of second quarter of 2018 with a 179.7-percent government-debt-to-GDP ratio.

In the same period last year, the ratio was 176.1 percent in Greece.

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the Greek economy witnessed a deep depression and the unemployment rate in the country climbed for six consecutive years to hit 27.5 percent in 2013. As of July 2018, the unemployment rate fell to 19 percent, compared to 20.8 percent in December 2017.

Since 2008, the Greek economy has posted a positive annual growth only two times — 0.7 percent in 2014 and 1.5 percent in 2017 — as the country has made several economic bailout deals with international creditors.

Eurostat said that Italy and Portugal followed Greece with 133.1 percent and 124.9 percent respectively in April-June, while the Italian government's general debt stock was €2.3 trillion ($2.75 trillion) and Portugal's debt stood at €246.8 billion ($294 billion).

Official data showed that the lowest debt/GDP ratios were seen in Estonia with 8.3 percent, Luxembourg with 22 percent and Bulgaria with 23.8 percent.

The government-debt-to-GDP ratio in the euro area (EA19) stood at 86.3 percent, falling 2.9 percentage point year-on-year, while EA19 government gross debt stock amounted to €9.8 trillion ($11.7 trillion).

The eurozone or euro area represents the EU's 19 member states that use the single currency, the euro.