Hungary's Debt Jumps to Four-Year High

Hungary's gross public debt jumped to a four-year high of 85.1% of gross domestic product at the end of June, central bank data published Monday showed, The Wall Street Journal reported. Gross public debt calculated under the European Union's Maastricht criteria was 81.7% of GDP a year earlier and 85.6% of GDP in June 2010 when the current government first gained power and the forint, the Hungarian currency, weakened significantly against core currencies amid Europe's continuing economic crisis. Hungary's public debt has been the highest in Central and Eastern Europe for several years, in terms of GDP and reducing it is one of the government's top economic priorities. The economy ministry said public debt fluctuates during the year and was expected to fall again toward the end of the year. "The state debt management agency AKK pre-financed maturing securities earlier this year, which has raised the level of state debt," Deputy State Secretary Peter Banai said on public radio MR1 Kossuth. Hungary paid back €1 billion ($1.34 billion) of debt in July, which will impact debt statistics at the end of September, Mr. Banai said. A further €2 billion of debt would be repaid by the end of the year. Read more.