Jordan's net public debt at the end of the first quarter of 2019 rose to JD27.5 billion, compared with JD26.9 billion at the end of 2018, according to the monthly report of the Ministry of Finance.
The country’s net public debt at the end of March was 90 percent of GDP, compared to 89.7 percent of the same period in 2018.
The ministry said that the increase in net public debt was due to the funding of both the budget deficit, deficit of water authority, and debt service and loans granted to the National Electric Power.
Jordanian data show the increase in net public debt in the country in recent years after it rose to 86.5 percent in 2016 and 88 percent in 2017. Net domestic debt represents the largest proportion of GDP, 50.5 percent against external debt, which represented 39.4 percent, at the end of March 2019.
Jordan's external debt exceeds half of the value of foreign exchange reserves. At the end of the first quarter, it stood at JD12 billion, representing 66.4 percent of reserves, although debt fell slightly compared to the end of 2018, when it stood at 67.6 percent of reserves.
Public debt service, both internal and external, amounted to JD435 million at the end of March, representing 1.4 percent of GDP, while it was JD1.7 billion in 2018, accounting for 5.9 percent of the GDP.
Despite the increase in debt, the first quarter showed a decrease in total expenditures in Jordan and higher revenues compared with the same period last year. Expenditure amounted to JD2.004 billion compared to JD2.079 billion, while revenues rose to JD1.7 billion against JD1.6 billion.
Domestic revenues represented the largest share of total revenues, amounting to JD1.6 billion, while external grants were limited to JD70 million.
The Ministry of Finance noted that previous developments resulted in fiscal deficit in the budget during the first quarter of 2019 after accounting the grants of about JD297.7 million, compared to a deficit of about JD470.3 million during the same period of 2018.
The deficit after the budget grants is expected to reach about JD645.6 million at the end of this year, according to the budget bill.