French state debt could be over 115% of GDP by year end - budget minister

Government did not plan to increase taxes to reduce the debt

  
The Eiffel Tower is surrounded by a small-particle haze which hangs above the skyline in Paris, France, March 22, 2019. 7

The Eiffel Tower is surrounded by a small-particle haze which hangs above the skyline in Paris, France, March 22, 2019. 7

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS- France's state debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio is set to increase to more than 115% by the end of the year due to the cost of coronavirus crisis measures, Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said in an interview with TV station RTL on Sunday.

"It will be no doubt more than 115% at the end of the year," RTL quoted him as saying on its website. He added that the government did not plan to increase taxes to reduce the debt.

At the end of March, the INSEE official statistics agency said that in 2019 gross public debt came in at 98.1% of GDP, unchanged from 2018, although the public sector budget deficit increased to 3.0% of GDP from 2.3% in 2018.

The French government said in April it expected its crisis package to cost 100 billion euros ($109 billion) - over 4% of GDP. Since then it has announced more support measures, notably for the car industry. ($1 = 0.9174 euros)

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise) ((geert.declercq@tr.com; +33 1 4949 5343; Reuters Messaging: Twitter: @gvdeclercq))

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