At the end of the third quarter of 2020, still impacted by policy responses to the COVID-19 containment measures, which materialized in increased financing needs, the government debt to GDP ratio in the euro area stood at 97.3%, compared with 95.0% at the end of the second quarter of 2020.
In the EU, the ratio increased from 87.7% to 89.8%. Compared with the third quarter of 2019, the government debt to GDP ratio rose in both the euro area (from 85.8% to 97.3%) and the EU (from 79.2% to 89.8%): the increases are due to two factors - government debt increasing considerably, and GDP decreasing.
At the end of the third quarter of 2020, debt securities accounted for 82.3% of euro area and for 82.1% of EU general government debt. Loans made up 14.5% and 14.8% respectively and currency and deposits represented 3.3% of euro area and 3.1% of EU government debt. Due to the involvement of EU Member States' governments in financial assistance to certain Member States, quarterly data on intergovernmental lending (IGL) are also published. The share of IGL as percentage of GDP at the end of the third quarter of 2020 amounted to 2.0% in the euro area and to 1.7% in the EU.
These data are released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The highest ratios of government debt to GDP at the end of the third quarter of 2020 were recorded in Greece (199.9%), Italy (154.2%), Portugal (130.8%), Cyprus (119.5%), France (116.5%), Spain (114.1%) and Belgium (113.2%), and the lowest in Estonia (18.5%), Bulgaria (25.3%) and Luxembourg (26.1%).
Compared with the second quarter of 2020, twenty Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the third quarter of 2020 and five a decrease, while the ratio remained stable in Estonia and the Netherlands. The largest increases in the ratio were observed in Greece (+8.5 percentage points – pp), Cyprus (+6.2 pp), Italy (+4.9 pp), Portugal (+4.8 pp), Lithuania (+4.6 pp) and Bulgaria (+4.0 pp). The decreases were recorded in Austria (-3.4 pp), Finland (-1.7 pp), Czech Republic (-1.5 pp), Belgium (-0.9 pp) and Ireland (-0.7 pp).
Compared with the third quarter of 2019, all Member States registered an increase in their debt to GDP ratio at the end of the third quarter of 2020. The largest increases in the ratio were recorded in Cyprus (+22.9 pp), Italy (+17.4 pp), Greece (+17.3 pp), Spain (+16.6 pp) and France (+16.5 pp).