Central Government Debt

The Danish government debt has the highest possible rating (AAA/Aaa) from the largest international credit rating agencies , due to, inter alia, the low debt level. At the end of 2018, the Danish central-government debt amounted to kr. 427 billion or 19 per cent of GDP. In addition, the debt structure is very robust.

A part of the central government debt reflects borrowing on behalf of government-owned companies. Adjusted for such on-lending the central government debt amounted to 14 per cent of GDP in 2018.


Central-government debt



The central government debt is calculated as the nominal value of domestic and foreign debt less the balance on the central government's account at Danmarks Nationalbank and the assets of the government funds, cf. Table.

Composition of central government debt

Kr. billion, year-end​2017
Domestic debt617
Foreign debt1
Pledging of collateral for swaps 1)​​1
​Central government's account at Danmarks Nationalbank-112
Government funds -30
​Bonds to finance social housing​-30
Central-government debt​427
Central-government debt, per cent of GDP19

Note:​ A positive figure indicates a liability; a negative figure indicates an asset.

1) Cash collateral for the market value of the swap portfolio. A positive number means the counterparties net have posted collateral.​​

Other public debt measures

The gross general government debt (EMU debt) is often used in international comparisons of sovereign debt. In recent years, the EMU debt has been considerably below the reference value of 60 per cent of GDP in the Stability and Growth Pact. At the end of 2018, Denmark's EMU debt amounted to 33 per cent of GDP according to Eurostat. This is low compared with the level in other EU member states. The primary difference between central government debt and EMU debt is that local government debt is included and that the balance on the central government's account of approximately 6 per cent of GDP is not offset in the EMU debt. The general government net debt, including all financial assets and liabilities of the public sector, was 1.3 per cent of GDP at the end of 2017 according to Statistics Denmark. This is also low in an international context.