Greek Governement Debt Decomposition

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PeriklisDr. Periklis Gogas, Associate Professor, Department of International Economics, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece.

The issue of the Figure 1 presents the government debt as a % of the GDP of 11 EU countries. Greece tops the list with 175%. This fact is very worrisome by itself. What is also a problem is the percentage of the debt that is held by non-residents. One issue for Greek citizens is of course that the creditors being non-Greeks can afford to be more inelastic and strict in any negotiations. They are only exposed to the default risk and the cost of the capital they borrowed that may be lost. But they have a limited exposure to the country, political and macroeconomic (from the perspective of the Greeks) risk. Another more important, but often overlooked, issue is outflow of that the interest payments. For a principal of €315 billion and a weighted average interest rate of 3%, an amount approximately €10 billion is fleeing the county every year. This represents approximately 6% of the Greek GDP. As a result this is spent outside Greece and provide no increased domestic demand, no taxes for the Greek government and are not deposited in the crisis-stricken Greek banking sector. The picture as we can see in Figure 1 is different in other countries.

Click on the figure below to enlarge it.

BrEcon

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