France to borrow most in 2012, says Fitch

Gross government borrowing in France is set to reach €359 billion (£299 billion) during 2012, far outstripping its AAA-rated European peers, according to Fitch.

By contrast, UK gross government borrowing is set to reach €300 billion, while Germany will require even less at €244 billion.

The ratings agency revealed that overall gross borrowing has fallen year-on-year for the majority of European governments, with the exceptions of Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Switzerland and the UK.

Gross government borrowing for the EU15 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) is expected to decline by 1.2% to €1,826 billion in 2012 from the €1,848 billion seen in 2011.

Douglas Renwick, senior director, in Fitch’s sovereign team, says: “Refinancing needs are a growing portion of the annual gross borrowing requirements for European governments, following the build-up of higher public debt stocks in recent years.

“Medium- and long-term debt maturities for the EU15 are up 19% year-on-year in 2012.”

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