Central government deficit of SEK 221 billion in 2020

Press release 12 January 2021

Swedish central government payments, as well as the central government budget balance, resulted in a deficit of SEK 221 billion in 2020. The Debt Office's forecast from October was a deficit of SEK 256 billion.

The corona pandemic had large negative effects on the economic development in 2020. The economic downturn resulted in lower tax income and higher expenditure for the central government. In addition, fiscal policy measures such as the short-time work allowance were implemented to counteract the effects of the pandemic on the Swedish economy. After four years of surpluses, the central government budget balance turned into a deficit in 2020. The deficit in 2020 was 221 billion SEK, the corresponding figure in 2019 was a surplus of 112 billion SEK.

Central government debt amounted to SEK 1,280 billion at the end of December, which was SEK 168 billion higher than in December 2019.

Deficit for central government in December

Swedish central government payments resulted in a deficit of SEK 125.9 billion in December. The Debt Office's forecast was a deficit of SEK 131.9 billion. This was mainly due to tax income being approximately SEK 7 billion higher than estimated, which was caused by higher supplementary tax payments than expected. In total during the period October to December, tax income were approximately SEK 22 billion higher than forecasted. This was mainly due to higher supplementary tax payments.

The Debt Office’s net lending to government agencies etc. was SEK 1.7 billion higher than forecasted in December. This is mainly due to higher lending to some agencies such as the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN) and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).

Interest payments on central government debt were SEK 2.7 billion lower than forecasted.

The outcome for January will be published on 5 February at 9.30 a.m. 


Press Secretary, +46 (0)8 613 47 01

Budget balance and central government net borrowing requirement1 (SEK million)
1 The net borrowing requirement corresponds to the budget balance with opposite sign.
2 Sum of monthly forecast deviations since last forecast (October 2020).
3 Net of the state's primary expenditure and income.
4 The net of government agencies etc. deposits and loans in the state’s internal bank. The net lending includes both current government operations and temporary occurrences which can be decided on short notice. The net lending affects the net borrowing requirement and central government debt, but are not covered by the Central government expenditure ceiling.
 Outcome   DecemberForecast DecemberDeviation DecemberAcc.    Dev2Outcome 12-month
Budget balance -125,873 -131,906 6,033 35,539 -220,588
Net borrowing requirement  125,873 131,906 -6,033 -35,539 220,588
Primary balance3 67,673 72,701 -5,028 -32,297 173,403
Net lending to agencies etc.4 43,924 42,252 1,672 -1,980 27,734
Interest payments on central government debt 14,276 16,952 -2,676 -1,263 19,451
  - Interest on loans in SEK 14,320 16,973 -2,654 -380 18,010
  - Interest on loans in foreign currency -52 -18 -34 -151 -1,022
  - Realised currency gains and losses 8 -3 12 -731 2,464

More data on the borrowing requirement and government debt

The monthly outcome of the central government net borrowing requirement is included in the official statistics of Sweden.

Report: Central Government Debt December 2020

Press secretary

Åsa Elm, pressansvarig

The Debt Office's operations shall be characterized by an openness to the public and the media. The right of access to official business is a cornerstone of Swedish democracy.

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Åsa Elm
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E-mail: Åsa Elm
Press phone: 08-613 47 01 (office hours and occasionally in between)