First Greece, Now Italy, Portugal Next?

    While most investors are focused on Italian politics – the parallel currency ‘mini-BoT’ fears and potential for a constitutional crisis – Spain is now facing its own political crisis amid calls for a no-confidence vote against Rajoy. However, ‘Spaxit’ remains a distant concern for investors as another member of the PIIGS peripheral problems is starting to signal concerns about ‘Portugone’?

    And the fundamental data confirms Portugal is next in line for a debt crisis…

    As Statista’s Brigitte van de Pas notes, on average, European Union countries had a gross government debt of roughly 81 percent of GDP in 2018.

    This average disguises real differences between EU countries. Whereas Greece had a government debt of 177.8 percent in 2018, Estonia had a debt of only 8.8 percent – the lowest in the entire EU zone.

    Infographic: Who Has The Highest Debt? | Statista

    You will find more infographics at Statista

    While, the high Greek debt is well-known, a number of other countries however also have a debt that is higher than their own GDP. The Italian debt, for example, is lower than the Greek but still significant, at over 130 percent of GDP. 

    Portugal, in third place, had a debt of 122.5 percent.

    One small positive note though: all three countries had even higher debts in 2017, and the European Commission forecasted a slow, but further decrease of their government debt in 2019. Whether this holds true for Italy, with their newly-elected government of Movimento 5 Stelle and Lega remains to be seen.

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