The Belgian Federal Debt Agency said on Wednesday while presenting its annual report that the Belgian debt ratio fell 4 percentage points to 105.1% of GDP in 2022. In terms of the eurozone debt ratio, the flat country remains in sixth place, behind France and Spain. Portugal, Italy and finally Greece, which concludes the rally with a public debt equivalent to 171.3% of GDP.
Last year, the federal government’s debt increased by 19.3 billion euros, to 478.5 billion euros, an increase of 4.2%. Consolidated public debt increased by 5.3% in nominal terms last year to 577.6 billion euros. It should also be noted that the debt of federal entities grew more (+10.4%) than the debt of the federal state over the same period.
On the other hand, the strong economic recovery that followed the health crisis enabled Belgium to improve its budget deficit from -5.5% in 2021 to -3.9% of GDP last year. In absolute numbers, the improvement amounts to €6.2 billion.
Revenues increased by 22.0 billion euros, while expenses increased by 15.8 billion euros.
In addition, while interest charges in the eurozone increased in 2022 from 1.5% to 1.7% of (European) GDP, interest charges in Belgium decreased slightly (from -1.7% to 1.5% of GDP). It decreased by 0.19% of GDP, which corresponds to a decrease in the nominal value of about 400 million euros, to 6.86 billion euros. The fall “record” of all public authorities and federal authority, determines the debt agency.
The average duration of federal government debt increased by 0.01 years to 10.55 years in May 2023, while the average interest rate on debt instruments increased by 0.03% at 1.66%, and the refinancing risk at 12 and 60 months, respectively, 12.63% and 38.16. %.
In the past year, Belgian interest rates have risen sharply. The ten-year OLO (linear bond, editor’s note) rate, the Belgian benchmark bond, jumped 298 percentage points, from 0.2% at the end of 2021 to 3.2% at the end of 2022. It remains at 3.02% currently, a level not seen since more than a decade. This frantic outbreak was driven in particular by the monetary policy of the European Central Bank (ECB), which raised its key rates several times in 2022.
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