Public debt climbs to six-month high

Portugal’s public debt took a new leap in the wrong direction in March, increasing by €23 million.

Set against the backdrop of bullish investment news, this may not seem so much in the grand scheme of things, though financial papers warn we have reached a six-month high.

The total now of the country’s public debt is €243.5 billion – and, predictably political the opposition are warning of the dire consequences.

Former finance minister Maria Luís Albuquerque told journalists this week that the Portuguese people have every reason to be worried.

Talking at a seminar in Covilhã, she said the news signified a “big problem” as it showed the country still had structural problems that were causing debt to accumulate.

According to data coming out of the Bank of Portugal, the increase in public debt compared to the same month in 2016 is €10 billion.

Albuquerque also explained the difference between public debt, and the public deficit (which is the lowest since Portugal became a democracy in 1974).

The debt, she explained, is the number to watch as it is the result of long-term financial management, whereas the deficit relates simply to the last year.

[email protected]