Our overseas debt burden continues to grow quickly
29th Dec 08, 3:44pm
Figures released by the Reserve Bank on Christmas Eve show that New Zealand's total overseas debt grew by $10 billion from June to September, and grew by $23.5 billion in the year to September 2008, the latest period for which data has been released. All of this increase was by the private sector - from debt raisings by banks and corporates. New Zealand now owes foreign creditors 130.9% of our annual GDP. The last time this debt was below 100% of our GDP was in March 2000, although after a surge in 2000/01 it did reduce to 101.9% in March 2004. Since then, it has been rising quickly. New Zealand owes a total of $235 billion to foreign creditors, $17.2 billion by the Government, and $217.8 billion by the private sector. Based on official population data, this overseas debt represents NZ$108,663 for every person in paid employment. Five years ago, that burden was $71,439 - it has grown 52% in those five years.