Tag Archives: reserve bank of australia

Who Owns 73% Of Our Debt?

24 Apr

Back on the 14th of March last year (“Who Owns Our Debt?“), we discovered that noted SMH economic commentator Ross Gittins was wrong. He had claimed –

You thought the pollies had done little else but spar about deficits and debt? Sorry, different debt. They’ve been arguing about the public debt – the amount the federal government owes (mainly to Australians).

At the time, a search through the RBA’s Statistics tables (“E3.xls”, Commonwealth Government Securities Classified By Holder) proved Gittins wrong.  We found that at September 2009, $65.972bn in Commonwealth debt was estimated to be held by non-residents. From a total of $104.228bn.  In percentage terms, an estimated 63.3% of public debt was actually held by non-residents of Australia.

Naturally we posed the question – Who exactly, are these ‘non-residents’ who hold 63.3% (or more?) of our public debt?

A little over a year later, we’ve had another look at those numbers (click to enlarge) –

Magenta - Total Public Debt. | Blue - Non-resident holders.

According to the updated RBA spreadsheet (“E3.xls”), at December 2010, $127.027bn in Commonwealth debt was estimated to be held by non-residents.  From a total of $174.794bn.

In other words, at December last year we owed $174.794bn.  And of that, $127bn – that is, 72.6% – was estimated to be owed to non-residents of Australia.

We ask again – Who exactly are the ‘non-residents’ who now own 72.6% (or more?) of our public debt?

Who Owns Our Debt?

14 Mar

Yesterday I wrote an article commenting on the SMH economics editor Ross Gittins’ column about Australia’s foreign debt.

Something else Mr Gittins claimed in his article caught my notice and bugged me overnight:

What’s that you say? You thought the pollies had done little else but spar about deficits and debt? Sorry, different debt. They’ve been arguing about the public debt – the amount the federal government owes (mainly to Australians).

Mr Gittins is apparently claiming that when the Australian Government issues Commonwealth Securities to raise money, that these are mainly bought by Australians – investors, super funds, banks, big companies, etc.

But is that true?  Is our public debt “mainly” owed to Australians?

I decided it might be nice to know for sure.  Not just take Ross Gittins’ word for it.

In the RBA’s Statistics section, spreadsheet “E9.xls” – Commonwealth Government Securities Classified By Holder as at June 30, I found something interesting…

Continue reading ‘Who Owns Our Debt?’

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