New data released by the Bank of Portugal on January 2 suggests the country’s public debt increased €400m in November 2018, compared to the previous month, and reached a record €251.48bn.

Portugal’s central bank said that loans and debt emissions essentially contributed to the increase in the month.

However, Portugal’s public debt is expected to be lower in December. Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno announced on December 10 that Portugal repaid remaining €4.7bn of loans to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after early repayments.

The minister also said the government maintains the objectives for 2018 and 2019 to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio to 121.2% and 118.5%, respectively.

Portugal is expected to pay all the loans to IMF by 2024 after it signed a 78-billion-euro bailout agreement with the European Union, the IMF and the European Central Bank in May 2011.

In other related news, The Portugal News online reported that Portugal’s finance minister and head of the Eurogroup, was named Finance Minister of the Year in Europe by the international financial affairs magazine The Banker.

The British magazine said Centeno “can look at his first 12 months as head of Eurogroup with well-deserved satisfaction,” stressing success in negotiations for the Euro reform in December. The Banker classified Centeno as an “unusual choice” for the presidency of the informal group of finance ministers of the eurozone, as it is “the first president of the Eurogroup from southern Europe and the first from a rescued country”.