Government debt rose to 1.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in the first quarter of 2020, up from 1.5 percent in the previous quarter. Data by Eurostat show that the percentage of debt matches that in the EU average but is lower than the average in the euro area (1.9%).
The general gross debt in Malta stood at 44.4 percent of GDP in the quarter under review, up from Q4 2019 (42.9%) but down from Q1 2019 (46.1%). The EU average stood at 79.5 percent between at the end of March this year, and Malta recorded the tenth lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among member states, ahead of Poland and behind Romania.
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP were recorded in Greece (176.7%), Italy (137.6%), and Portugal (120.0%), while Estonia (8.9%), Bulgaria (20.3%) and Luxembourg (22.3%) registered the lowest ratios.
All EU27 countries except for Lithuania, Denmark, and Bulgaria saw an increase in their debt to GDP ratio from the last quarter of 2019. Compared with the first quarter of 2019, only ten member states registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio; Malta was not among them. In fact, debt-to-GDP decreased by 1.7 percent year-on-year.