Italy Flag National Debt

Italy’s Debt Clock: Realtime Demo Showing The Size Of Italy’s Public Debt


Source: Italian Government Data

Last Updated: June 15, 2024

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Interest Payments Per Year
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National Debt Per Citizen
Debt as % of GDP
GDP Of Italy
Italy Population

What Is Italy’s National Debt?

According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Italy has the 6th highest debt-to-GDP ratio at 161.8%. This means that Italy’s government owes a significant excess amount of money in comparison to how much the country produces each year.

From 2019, Italy’s debt-to-GDP increased by 27% from 134.8%. The country has a continuous history of being among one of the most indebted nations in Europe with a previous high of 130.3% in 1994.

Italy’s Debt-To-GDP Ratio By The OECD

Other economic organizations like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report Italy’s latest 2019 debt-to-GDP ratio at 154.6%. The OECD data shows Italy’s all time high of 156.9% in 2014.

Also according to OECD’s 2019 data, Italy has the 2nd highest debt-to-GDP out of the G20 nations behind Japan.

Who Manages Italy’s National Debt?

The Italian national debt is managed by the MEF Department Of Treasury, who issue government securities, as well as insurance on those government securities.

Who Holds Italy’s National Debt?

The Wall Street Journal reported that Italy is the country with the lowest amount of public debt shares held by non-residents out of all European countries.

As reported by Consob, the net wealth of Italian households was at an estimated €10 trillion in 2018, with more than half of it held as financial assets.

Unfunded state pensions owed to the Italian public are NOT included in the Italian national debt figure.

Estimations based on Banca D’Italia’s figures show that only around $100bn of public debt is held by households.

Who Holds The Rest Of Italy’s Public Debt?

Other primary debt holders of Italy’s public debt include financial institutions, private companies, and foreign investors:

Debt HolderAmount (€bn)
Investment Funds€300bn
Insurance Companies€310bn
Foreign Entities€450bn

As seen above, the total amount of €100 billion held by Italian households shows a small number of domestically held government securities. The majority of Italian national is held by Italian banks.

Much of Italy’s foreign debt is held through Italian investment funds, which Banca D’Italia includes in the total foreign debt figure of €290 billion.

As of 2020 September, Italy’s total public debt is estimated to be over €2,580 billion.

Is Italy’s General Government Debt Growing?

Following a 127.9% debt-to-GDP ratio in 1998, Italy experienced a steady decline in debt and down to 113.9% in 2003.

italy general government debt
Source: OECD (2019), General Government Debt, Data (accessed on 12/8/20)

During the financial crisis in 2008, Italy’s debt-to-GDP rocketed by 13% and after a brief recovery period, it rose again to the all-time reported high of 156.9% in 2015. See the OECD graph above.

Is Italy’s Debt Growing Or GDP Suffering?

For the same period of 1995 to 2019, Italy’s GDP steadily grew from a GDP-per-capita of $22,300 to over $35,000 until the 2008 crisis.

The recovery of the country’s GDP figures began a year after and has continued since.

Source: OECD (2019), Gross Domestic Product, Data (accessed on 12/8/20)

Despite an uptrend in GDP-per-capita, Italy’s debt-to-GDP figures have been rising, meaning the country’s debt figures have increased more than their generated income.

To learn more about the Italian economy and what commodities the country’s primary import and export trade consists of, see our Overview Of Italy’s Economy.

Types Of Italian Government Securities

The following types of securities are sold by the MEF Department Of Treasury:

  • Treasury Bills (BOTs): short term securities with a maximum maturity period of 12-months.
  • Zero-Coupon Bonds (CTZs): bonds that require investment capital below the nominal redemption value, with a maximum maturity of 24-months.
  • Treasury Certificates (CCTs-eu): floating rate securities with maturity from 3 to 7 years.
  • Treasury Bonds (BTPs): Treasury bonds are medium/long-term securities, with a fixed coupon paid every 6 months.
  • Treasury Bonds Linked to Euro-Zone Inflation (BTPs€i): inflation protection bonds against inflation in the Euro-zone.
  • Treasury Bonds Linked to Italian Inflation (BTPs Italia): inflation protection bonds against domestic inflation in Italy.
  • Treasury Bonds Step-Up (BPT Futura): bonds reserved for individual and retail buyers, designed to support Italy’s economic recovery following the crisis in 2020.

Fact Summary Of Italy’s National Debt

What facts should you know about Italy’s national debt?

  • You could wrap $1 bills around the Earth 13,297 times with the debt amount.

  • If you lay $1 bills on top of each other they would make a pile 373,060 km, or 231,809 miles high.

  • That's equivalent to 0.97 trips to the Moon.

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Further Reading has an entire directory of national debt clocks, including:

If you want to learn about a particular country’s trade, namely, which commodities they export and import, see our economic overviews, countries like Austria, Poland, Brazil, the US, and Singapore.

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