PARIS (Reuters) - France’s 2017 public sector deficit and national debt have been revised up mainly to take into account debt from the SNCF public railway, the INSEE official statistics agency said.
As a result, France’s public deficit stood last year at 2.7 percent of economic output instead of the 2.6 percent previously reported while the national debt was revised up to 98.5 percent from 96.8 percent, INSEE said.
Though France remained comfortably below an EU deficit limit of three percent last year, the increase adds pressure on efforts to keep the deficit to 2.6 percent this year.
INSEE said SNCF Reseau’s liabilities had been included in the public sector because commercial activity had made up less than half of its business 2017, triggering the reclassification.
That added 2.2 billion euros ($2.56 billion) to the public deficit and 39.5 billion euros to the national debt. A further 2.5 billion euros was added to the deficit due to an accounting change for the recapitalisation of nuclear group Orano.
However, the increases in the deficit was partially offset by an extra 2.8 billion euros coming from more up-to-date data used to calculate the overall budget shortfall.
Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Michel Rose