Malta: A quarter of debt held by non-financial sectors

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Malta is one of four EU countries where non-financial sectors hold more than a tenth of government debt. Figures by Eurostat show that 26 percent of debt in Malta is held by non-financial corporations, households and non-profit institutions serving households – the second-highest among the EU27. Hungary has the highest rate of debt in non-financial sectors, accounting to 28 percent of the general total.

Just under 60 percent of government debt in Malta is held by resident financial corporations, the fifth-highest share in the EU after Denmark (74%), Sweden (73%, Croatia (67%), and Italy (63%). At the other end, with less than 20 percent of total government debt, Cyprus recorded the lowest share held by resident financial corporations. In fact, four-fifths of it is held by non-resident institutions.

By contrast, Malta has the lowest rate of debt held by non-resident institutions, at around 15 percent. Sweden is the only other country to hold less than a fifth of its debt with non-resident sectors.

Debt securities are the main financial instrument used by EU members, notably so in the Czech Republic where they comprise 92 percent of total general government debt. In Malta, the share is of 86 percent, exactly like France but lower than Hungary, Slovenia, and Spain (all 87%). Loans are prevalent in Estonia (88%) and Greece (81%), while Cyprus, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Portugal all use the instrument for more than a quarter of their debt.

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