The total amount of debt being carried by eurozone governments has fallen for the first time since the financial crisis hit – that is nearly six years.
The calculations are for the period between July and September 2013.
They will be seized on by eurozone policy makers as another indication that their methods – spending cuts and tax increases – are helping the currency bloc to get over its sovereign debt crisis
Of the top five, Greek – which needed two bailouts to avoid bankruptcy – saw the amount it owes rise to 171.8 percent of its gross domestic product.
Italy’s debt burden declined to 132.9 percent, though it remains the region’s second highest.
Portugal and Ireland fell to 128.7 percent of GDP and 124.8 percent respectively while Cyprus rose to 109.6 percent.
The government in Lisbon hailed the fact that it enjoyed the biggest quarter-on-quarter fall in debt in the European Union – minus 2.4 percent of GDP.
Portugal is set to be the next country to exit its bailout, perhaps as early as May.
Europe’s three biggest economies – Germany, Britain and France – saw the amount they owe fall.
But the level of debt in a majority of eurozone countries remains well above the European Union’s official limit of 60 percent of economic output.
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