Increased borrowing as Sweden’s government budget shows deficit

Press release 23 February 2023

The central government budget shifts to a deficit this year after last year’s unexpectedly large surplus. This is partly due to decreased tax income but also to temporary factors such as electricity price support. The Swedish National Debt Office expects a continued budget deficit in 2024 and will therefore increase bond issuance next year.

For the first time since during the pandemic in 2020 we now expect a central government budget deficit, but it does not involve a drastic deterioration. Although we are increasing the borrowing, the Swedish central government debt will remain low from both a historical and an international perspective, says Debt Office Director General Karolina Ekholm.

According to the Debt Office’s forecast, the Swedish economy will shrink this year as it is weighed down by a drop in both household consumption and construction investments. GDP then grows moderately in 2024. Unemployment rises during the forecast period. Inflation remains high in the beginning of 2023 but later subsides.

The central government budget balance is weaker than in the previous forecast, and for both 2023 and 2024 the Debt Office now expects a deficit instead of a surplus. The forecast change is largely due to temporary factors such as changed flows to and from Svenska kraftnät but also to lower tax income and higher expenditure.

Increased borrowing in nominal government bonds in 2024

As a result of the weaker budget balance, the Debt Office will increase the supply of nominal government bonds from SEK 2 billion to SEK 2.5 billion per auction at the beginning of 2024. The volume of treasury bills will also increase. The issuance volume of inflation-linked bonds will remain the same, but the Debt Office is postponing the introduction of a new inflation-linked bond.

Central government debt increases but remains unchanged as share of GDP

The central government debt measured in kronor increases during the forecast period, but it remains essentially unchanged as a share of GDP. At the end of 2022, the central government debt was SEK 1,093 billion and thereby back to a level lower than since before the pandemic. This corresponds to 18 per cent of GDP, based on the Debt Office’s GDP forecast. It is expected to be 19 per cent of GDP at the end of 2024.

The general government debt for the entire public sector, called the Maastricht debt, is expected to be 31 per cent of GDP in 2023 and 2024. This measure is used in international comparisons and is also that which is used for the debt anchor of 35 per cent of GDP (±5 percentage points) in the fiscal policy framework.

Debt Office’s forecast – key figures

Swedish economy
       2022 outcome    2023    2024  

GDP growth (annual rate in %)

2.4 (2.4)

-0.7 (-1.0)

 1.3   (1.3)

Unemployment (% of labour force)

7.5 (7.4)

7.9 (7.9)

8.3 (8.3)

CPIF inflation (annual rate in %)

7.7 (7.8)

5.0 (5.4)

1.0 (1.8)

Note: Previous forecast (October 2022) in parentheses. The GDP outcome for 2022 is preliminary.

Central government finances
       2022 outcome    2023    2024  

Budget balance (SEK billion)

164 (91)

-42 (27)

-41 (12)

Central government debt (SEK billion)

1,093 (1,132)

1,117 (1,117)

1,159 (1,109)

Central government debt (% of GDP)

18 (19)

18 (18)

19 (18)

General government debt (% of GDP)

33 (33)

31 (31)

31 (31)

Note: Previous forecast (October 2022) in parentheses. The outcome for the general government debt and GDP in current prices is according to the Debt Office’s calculations because the official figures are not yet published.

Central government borrowing
SEK billion2022 outcome20232024

Nominal government bonds

46 (46)

40 (40)

50 (40)

Inflation-linked bonds

9 (9)

9 (9)

9 (9)

Green bonds

0 (0)

0 (0)

0 (0)

T-bills, stock at year-end

65 (83)

158 (158)

178 (140)

Foreign currency bonds

0 (0)

21 (22)

0 (0)

Note: Previous forecast (October 2022) in parentheses.

Report: Central Government Borrowing – Forecast and Analysis 2023:1

The report is presented at a virtual press conference today, 23 February, at 10:00 a.m.

Follow the live stream of the press conference (from the Swedish webpage).

Journalists can e-mail questions to to be answered during the press conference. For further information or interview requests, contact the Debt Office's press function: +46 (0) 8 613 47 01,

The preliminary publishing date for Central Government Borrowing – Forecast and Analysis 2023:2 is 25 May 2023.

Press inquiries

Mats Lilja, press officer

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.

Our press officer helps you get in touch with the right person so that you can get your questions answered quickly and easily. He can also provide you with material, answer comprehensive questions about our business and upcoming publications.

Mats Lilja, press officer
Press phone (office hours): +46(0)8-613 47 01, mobile +46(0)721-561 527
E-mail: Mats Lilja