ZURICH, March 8 (Reuters) - Switzerland's public sector debt ratio is set to fall below 29 percent of economic output this year as the country runs budget surpluses and its social security funds reduce debt, the finance ministry projected.
Although not a European Union member, Switzerland forecast the debt ratio using the EU's Maastricht criteria for overall government and social security finances would dip to 28.8 percent from 29.7 percent in 2017.
The federal, cantonal and local governments plus social security funds were set to run a combined surplus of 0.8 percent of GDP this year, it said, down from 1.2 percent in 2017, when surging tax receipts helped the federal government post an unexpectedly large surplus.
Positive balances at social security funds from 2016 to 2018 should not mask imminent retirement provision challenges as the population ages, it added. (Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by John Stonestreet)