Gross external debt continued to decline in Q1 2017, falling by USD456m to USD37.1bn, according to figures published by the central bank on Thursday. This was due to falling debt of the banking sector, which was down by USD656m to USD5.3bn, as well as USD60m decline of government debt, while corporate external debt grew modestly. During the last 12 months gross external debt has fallen by USD1.5bn due to lower private debt, while government debt increased by USD0.6bn due to loans received from the Russia-led Eurasian development fund. As a share of GDP external debt has declined to 75.3% in Q1 2017 from 78.6% in the previous quarter, but it is up from 71.9% a year ago and 52.5% two years ago, reflecting the fall of the dollar-based GDP after the currency devaluation. The public debt-to-GDP ratio similarly increased to 31.6% in Q1 from 28% a year ago and 19.8% two years ago. Note that public debt includes the government and monetary authorities and excludes state-owned companies and banks, which account for the bulk of the local economy. Debt of the extended public sector, which includes state companies and state guaranteed private debt, reached USD21.7bn at the end of March, which is 59% of total debt and 44.2% of the GDP.