Israel's debt-to-GDP ratio hits 61 pct: 2018 report

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JERUSALEM, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel's public debt-to-GDP ratio rose to 61 percent in 2018, an increase of 0.5 percent compared to 2017, a report by Israeli Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

The annual debt management report published by Israel's Accountant General Rony Hizkiyahu showed that the government's debt rate excluding local authorities increased by 0.6 percent and stood at 59.4 percent of GDP in 2018.

The figure is still lower than the upper limit recommended by the Maastricht Treaty.

Israeli government's debt totaled 788.3 billion new shekels (about 221 billion U.S. dollars) at the end of 2018, compared with 747.1 billion new shekels (210 billion dollars) in 2017.

The main reasons for the increase in Israel's debt-to-GDP ratio are changes in market factors, especially the significant devaluation of the new shekel against the dollar and the euro as well as a high rate of inflation related to previous years.

The report also noted that the trend of extending short-term loans in the debt portfolio continued in 2018 to reduce the rescheduling risk.

Hizkiyahu said that "the report reflects the efficient management of the debt, which is supported by strong economic performance in 2018." Enditem

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