Net debt and investment funds - Trends and balance sheet implications

Report no. 01/2019

When parliamentarians, journalists, and other interested members of the community look to the budget for a longer term indicator of the sustainability of the government’s financial position, they often look to net debt. This paper examines the impact of growth in government investment funds on net debt. Estimates of net debt are increasingly sensitive to both the investment strategies and the particular investment structures adopted by these funds, especially the Future Fund. The focus in this report is conceptual—whether the long-standing frameworks that define net debt would benefit from review in light of the growing use of investment funds—and suggests that increased transparency around these impacts is warranted.

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Date issued: 14 March 2019