French Public Debt Sets New Record High

By William HorobinFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

France's public debt burden rose to the highest level on record in the first three months of 2017, underscoring the challenge new President Emmanuel Macron faces in repairing the country's finances.

Public debt rose to 98.9% of gross domestic product--or 2.21 trillion euros ($2.52 trillion)--in the first quarter, from 96.3% in the final quarter of 2016, French statistics agency Insee said Friday.

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The central state's debt rose by EUR49.5 billion and the social security system's debt rose by EUR15 billion. Local authority debt declined by EUR1.2 billion.

France's budget auditor said Thursday that the government deficit this year would significantly exceed targets negotiated with the European Union, hitting 3.2% of GDP, compared with a target of 2.8% set by the government of Mr. Macron's predecessor, Francois Hollande.

-Write to William Horobin at william.horobin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 30, 2017 03:34 ET (07:34 GMT)