22 January 2014, 16:56  Eurozone govt debt narrows

The gross debt of Eurozone governments narrowed in the third quarter, marking the first decline in nearly six years, in a further sign that the region's long-drawn debt crisis is easing, data released by Eurostat revealed Wednesday. Total government debt in the 17-country bloc dropped to 92.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of the September quarter from 93.4 percent in the second quarter. It was the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2007. Loans amounted to 17.9 percent of GDP during the quarter, compared to 18.1 percent in the preceding three-month period. The ratio of securities and deposits edged up to 79.3 percent from 79.2 percent, while the value of currency and deposits remained unchanged at 2.7 percent of GDP. In the European Union (EU), the debt-to-GDP ratio increased modestly to 86.8 percent in the September quarter from 86.7 percent in the second quarter. Among the EU member states, the highest debt-to-GDP ratios were recorded in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland. The lowest rates were recorded in Estonia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.

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