Bermuda minister says debt low compared to Cayman

| 24/03/2011

(Royal Gazette): Bermuda’s national debt is “manageable” and “sustainable” when compared to other modern and developed economies, according to Junior Finance Minister David Burt. Senator Burt made the statement during a debate on the Government Loans Amendment Act 2011 in the Senate, where he said Bermuda’s debt levels remained low compared to places like the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Barbados and Bahamas. He said as of the end of this month, the net debt would stand at $1.175 billion, approximately $75 million below the $1.250 billion ceiling. And net debt, excluding guarantees, would stand at $964.4 million, approximately 17.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Government Loans Amendment Act 2011 will amend the 1978 act so that only Government guarantees that become due and payable can be charged against the statutory debt ceiling, explained Sen Burt.

“This is a manageable and sustainable figure for a small country where the GDP is estimated at $5.6 billion,” he said, adding that other countries, which Bermuda is often compared, have a much higher debt to GDP ratio.

For the Cayman Island’s this ratio is 25 percent of GDP; in Switzerland it is 37.8 percent; it is 84.5 percent in the United Kingdom and 94 percent in the United States; Barbados 73.3 percent; the Bahamas 49.7 percent; Qatar stands at 21.8 percent; and the UAE is 21.3 percent.

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