Unexpectedly large tax payments lead to balanced budget in 2016

Press release 24 February 2016

Increased tax income paves the way for a balanced central government budget in 2016 and a smaller deficit than previously estimated in 2017, according to a new forecast by the Swedish National Debt Office. The improved budget balance means that government borrowing in foreign-currency bonds and T-bills decreases. Borrowing in government bonds remains unchanged.

– The increase in tax income is partly driven by continued strong growth in the Swedish economy, but the unusually large tax payments in the past few months are mainly of a temporary nature. The aggregated effect ahead is therefore somewhat uncertain, says Director General Hans Lindblad.

The Debt Office’s new forecast points to a central government budget surplus of SEK 3 billion in 2016 and a deficit of SEK 31 billion in 2017. In the previous forecast from October, the Debt Office expected a deficit of SEK 33 billion in 2016 and SEK 47 billion in 2017.

Tax income in 2016 is revised upwards by SEK 29 billion. Part of the revision is explained by increased income from payroll taxes, current corporate tax and tax on capital gains, but the main explanation is large one-time payments of preliminary corporate tax. Also, some payments have probably been made as pure placements of liquid funds in tax accounts. In 2017, tax income is expected to grow at a slower pace.

On the expenditure side of the budget, the Debt Office reduces the forecast for migration expenditure for both years. This reduction, however, is countered by an increase in development-assistance expenditure of almost the same size.

The Debt Office estimates Swedish GDP growth at 3.3 per cent this year and 2.5 per cent in 2017, an increase by 0.5 and 0.1 percentage points, respectively, from the previous forecast. Domestic demand continues to boost growth.

Central government debt is estimated at SEK 1,422 billion at the end of 2016 and 1,444 billion at the end of 2017. This corresponds to 33 per cent of GDP for both years.

Net borrowing requirement and central government debt (SEK billion)

Previous forecast in parentheses




Net borrowing requirement (budget balance with opposite sign)


–3 (33)

31 (47)

Central government debt




Central government debt as percentage of GDP




Central government debt as percentage of GDP including on-lending and money-market assets




Decreased foreign-currency borrowing, unchanged volume in government bonds

The smaller borrowing requirement means that borrowing in foreign-currency bonds and T-bills is reduced.

The planned issue volume in government bonds remains at SEK 88 billion per year in 2016 and 2017. Borrowing in inflation-linked bonds is also unchanged.

Borrowing (SEK billion)

Previous forecast in parentheses




Government bonds


88 (88)

88 (88)

Inflation-linked bonds


18 (18)

18 (18)



120 (135)

130 (135)

Foreign-currency bonds


60 (92)

67 (75)

–      of which on-lending to the Riksbank


60 (70)

67 (55)

Central government borrowing – forecast and analysis 2016:1, pdf


Thomas Olofsson, Head of Debt Management, +46 (0)8 613 47 82
Linda Rudberg, Press Officer, +46 (0)8 613 45 38