Eurozone debt burden hits all-time high in Q1

BRUSSELS (AP) — Official figures show that the debt burden of the 17 European Union countries that use the euro have hit all-time highs in the first quarter despite austerity measures designed to return public finances to health.

Eurostat, the EU’s statistics office, says Monday that government debt as a proportion of the total annual gross domestic product of the eurozone pushed up to a record 92.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from 90.6 percent the previous quarter.

Though a number of countries are pushing through spending cuts and tax rises, many remain mired in recession — shrinking economies can make the debt dynamics look less favorable.

The highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the eurozone was Greece’s 160.5 percent, followed by Italy’s 130.3 percent.

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