After peaking at HUF 25.9 trillion (USD 94.2 billion) on December 11th, 2015, Hungary’s national debt proceeded over the next three weeks to decrease HUF 1.2 trillion (USD 4.36 billion) to HUF 24.7 trillion (USD 89.8 billion) by the end of the year.
Despite the government taking in HUF 92.2 billion (USD 376 million) more in January than it spent, the national debt that month increased HUF 480.6 billion (USD 1.75 billion) from HUF 24.7 trillion to HUF 25.2 trillion (USD 91.64 billion), thanks in large part to the sale of HUF 441.9 billion (USD 1.6 billion) worth of state paper.
The above has prompted critics to accuse State Debt Management Center Zrt. (AKK) CEO György Barcza of dressing up Hungary’s year-end national debt figures in order to suggest that the national debt had decreased year-on-year when, in fact, this was not the case.
AKK appears to have done so by booking the retirement of state bonds in December and waiting until January to issue new state paper.
Daily economical online napi.hu writes that this is not the first time AKK has been accused of manipulating Hungary’s national debt figures. At a press conference in January, Barcza, who previously stressed the importance of lowering the year-end debt figures because “that is when they measure them,” denied he had manipulated the year-end figures so as to keep the national debt on a downward path.
At the beginning of January AKK announced that it would no longer publish weekly debt figures. This means observers must now rely on monthly figures released by the Ministry of National Economy.
Napi.hu writes that the proportion of debt denominated in foreign currency was 30.7 percent in January and that the amount of state debt owned by foreigners decreased HUF 61.8 billion (USD 224.7 million) to HUF 3.834 trillion (USD 13.94 billion) in January.