Public debt rises by €19.549 billion to €1.6 trillion in February

Spanish public debtSpanish public debt

The debt of public administrations as a whole rose by €19,549 million in February compared with the previous month (+1.2%), reaching €1,602,662 million, a new record high, according to data published yesterday, Monday, by the Bank of Spain.

This rise means that the debt of public administrations exceeds the barrier of €1.6 trillion for the first time in history, above the record reached in January of €1.583 trillion. In the last year, public debt has grown by 5.4%, with €82,416 million more.

In this monthly advance, the Bank of Spain does not offer data on the weight of debt over GDP – measured as a percentage on a quarterly basis – but the latest data released point to the ratio moderating to 107.7% at the end of 2023, a better ratio than the one forecast by the government (108.1%), thanks to the boost in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which ended the year with growth of 2.5%, according to the advance data from the National Statistics Institute (INE).

The government’s estimates suggest that the downward trend in public debt will continue in the coming years, as it expects it to fall from 106.3% in 2024 to 105.4% in 2025 and 104.4% in 2026. Although these figures are not shared by AIReF (the independent Fiscal Responsibility Authority), nor by the International Monetary Fund, nor by most independent analysts, they are not shared by the European Central Bank (ECB).

The monthly rise in debt in February is mainly due to the increase in the indebtedness of the State and the autonomous regions, while that of local councils has fallen slightly and that of the Social Security system has remained at the same figure.

Specifically, in February, State debt stood at €1,441,876 million, an increase of 1.3% and €18,567 million more in one month, while in the last twelve months it has risen by 6.9%.

For their part, the autonomous communities have raised their debt compared with January to €327,881 million, some €3,735 million more (+1.2%), while in the year-on-year rate it has risen by 3.2%.

Social Security debt remained at practically the same level in February, at €116,171 million. The year-on-year increase is 9.4%.

The Bank of Spain explains that the increase in Social Security debt over the last year is due to the loans granted by the State to the Social Security General Treasury to finance its budgetary imbalance.

Finally, local councils recorded a debt in February of €23,098 million, 0.5% less than the previous month, while in the last year it has risen by 0.7%.

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The Corner
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