Gross external debt grew by EUR150mnin February, adding up to EUR43.1bn (106.8% of GDP) at the end of the month, according to figures of the Bank of Slovenia. Meanwhile, net external debt fell by EUR331m, down to EUR9.2bn (22.8% of GDP) at end-February. In annual terms, both gross and net external debt decreased, by EUR1.5bn and EUR2.3bn, respectively.
Gross external debt growth in February was due almost entirely to government debt operations, namely their technical side, as the government once again bought back USD-denominated debt. The increase was mostly on Bank of Slovenia’s non-resident deposits (by EUR183m), while direct general government debt decreased by EUR30m, mostly through long-term securitized debt (down EUR126m). As the Bank of Slovenia account should adjust again in March, we should see some decrease in the debt stock at end-March. Apart from that transaction, there was virtually no major monthly change in debt stock elsewhere.
In annual terms, the debt stock decreased primarily due to loan repayment in the financial sector, where long-term loans were down by EUR623m. There were also repayments on government debt through the Bank of Slovenia’s accounts, leading to a EUR384m decline of its debt, while direct government debt remained virtually unchanged. While due to technical effects short-term debt increased slightly its share, it remained lower by 0.2pps y/y to 20.4% of total.