Hungary Maastricht debt 75.3pc of GDP at end of 2015

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Maastricht state debt stood at 75.3pc of GDP at the end of December 2015, down from 76.2pc at the end of 2014, financial account figures published by the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) on show. In nominal terms, Maastricht debt reached HUF 25,394bn at the end of December, rising HUF 880bn from the end of Q4 2014. The debt ratio was revised down from 75.5pc in the first reading published on February 17. The downward revision reflected the higher nominal GDP as nominal debt was up just HUF 1bn from the preliminary figure.

Net general government financing requirement, which is a good approximation of the general government deficit, was HUF 633bn in 2015, equal to 1.9pc of GDP. The figures were revised up slightly, by HUF 16bn or 0.1 percentage points of GDP from preliminary ratio published on February 17. Net liabilities of the general government reached HUF 23,379bn or 69.4pc of GDP at the end of 2015. The ratio was down from 71.8pc a year earlier and was the lowest one measured since Q3 2012. The net liabilities ratio has fallen after peaking at 73.6pc of GDP in the middle of 2014.

Last year, net borrowing raised gross state debt by HUF 785bn, including net repayments of HUF 606bn in Q4 alone. The weakening of the forint added HUF 95bn the year-end debt, with HUF 88bn of the increase happening in the last quarter. Year-end debt was reduced by big debt expiries and repayments in the fourth quarter, which included the (re)purchase of foreign exchange denominated government bonds from the central which the latter bought earlier in 2015 as part of its self-financing programme aimed at reducing the foreign and FX share within state debt.

The FX government bonds held by the NBH peaked at HUF 313.2bn at the end of November and the stock fell to zero by the end of December. Debt expiries and advance repayments explained the most part of the sharp, HUF 1,230bn drop of the consolidated cash and deposits on the general government in the fourth quarter, to HUF 1,520bn.

Among general government assets, receivables from the European Union rose by a steep HUF 552bn in 2015 to HUF 808bn by the end of last year. These receivables rose by a HUF 420bn in Q4 alone, which offered the last chance to draw on EU funding for the previous, 2007-2013 budgetary period. Among subsectors, the central budget had net financing requirement of HUF 641bn last year, local councils had net financing requirement of HUF 400m and the two social insurance funds had net financing capacity of HUF 8.3bn.