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Government debt rises to €20.4 b in 1st half of 2018 

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Cyprus’ central government’s debt rose to €20.43 billion in the first half of 2018 recording an increase of 11.6% compared with December 2017, according to data released by the Finance Ministry’s Public Debt Management Office (PDMO).

In absolute terms, the increase amounted to €2.12 billion due to the issuance of domestic government bonds amounting to €2.35 billion to facilitate the sale of the state-owned Cyprus Cooperative Bank to Hellenic Bank. The rise was partly of the offset by the first payment to the loan Cyprus received in 2011 from the Russian Federation which now amounts to €2.18 billion.

Due to the bonds issued to the CCB, total debt in domestic bonds rose to €4.5 billion in the end of the first half of the current year, compared with €2.08 billion in end-2017. Total debt in domestic bonds also comprises Treasury Bills amounting to €300 million and special retail bonds and saving securities totalling €672 million.

Total domestic debt for the first half of 2018 (both domestic securities and domestic loans) amounted to €5.34 billion or 26% of the central government’s total debt.

Debt in Euro Medium Term Notes remained unchanged at €4.50 billion, while no change was observed in domestic loans to the Central Bank and the CCB which amounted to €858.2 million.

The lion share in Cyprus’ debt was held by foreign official sectors. Foreign loans in the end of June 2018 amounted to €10.6 billion from €10.9 billion in end-2017. The reduction is attributed to the first payment of €313 million to the loan obtained by the Russian Federation in 2011. Foreign loans include the €6.3 billion debt to the European Stability Mechanism which remains Cyprus biggest creditor. Cyprus’ loan to the IMF amounted to €687 million.

The central government’s debt as reported by the PDMO, amounts to 98% to Cyprus’ total debt and excludes debt to the social security fund, debt of the semi-governmental organisations and local administration.