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Hungary among six EU members registering drop in gov’t debt in Q1 - Eurostat

MNB

Hungary was one of six European Union member states registering a decrease in their government debt ratio in the first quarter of 2012 and among four countries recording a yr/yr decrease, the EU statistical office Eurostat said on Monday.

Hungary registered the second largest decrease, of 1.8 percentage points, preceded only by Greece (-33.0pp), and followed by Denmark (-1.5pp). The other three countries registering a decrease were Poland, Finland and Sweden.

Compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, twenty-one member states registered an increase in their debt ratio from the end of 2011. The highest increases were recorded in Lithuania (+4.0pp), Portugal (+3.8pp), Spain (+3.7pp) and Belgium (+3.6pp).

At the end of the first quarter of 2012, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area stood at 88.2%,
compared with 87.3% at the end of the fourth quarter of 2011, the office reported. For the whole EU the ratio increased from 82.5% to 83.4%.

The Eurostat noted that the change in debt ratio between two successive quarters can be influenced in some cases by seasonal patterns.

Compared with the first quarter of 2011, twenty-three Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP
ratio at the end of the first quarter of 2012, and four a decrease. The highest increases in the ratio were recorded in
Portugal (+17.2pp), Cyprus (+11.0 pp) and Ireland (+8.2pp), and the largest decreases in Greece (-20.0pp)
and Hungary (-4.1pp). The other two countries with yr/yr decreases were Sweden and Denmark.

Hungary's gross government debt, under the Maastricht definition, fell from 80.6% of GDP, at the end of Q4 2011 to 79.0% at the end of March 2012, the National Bank of Hungary reported at the beginning of June. In nominal terms, Maastricht debt dropped HUF 294 billion in Q1 to HUF 22,399 billion at the end of March, the MNB report showed. Transactions raised the debt by HUF 300 billion while the strengthening of the forint reduced it by HUF 594 billion in the period.

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