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External debt

External debt


German external debt states, as gross debt, only one sub-category of the liabilities reported in the international investment position vis-à-vis other countries. Only financial instruments with debt character are included in external debt.

Dissemination practice

German external debt is compiled quarterly by the Deutsche Bundesbank and as at the end of each quarter with a time lag of one quarter published on its website at Tables. 

  • Time series database
  • Table of external debt

The dissemination date is the last working day of each quarter.

The Quarterly External Debt Database, jointly developed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), makes available at a central place on the internet detailed data on external debt which are published by each SDDS member country. This database also contains data for previous periods. 

Methodological notes

German foreign debt is a quarterly stock statistic and includes only instruments with debt character such as debt securities, loans or deposits. It does not include any financial claims that constitute investments such as equities, mutual fund shares, equity capital or real estate ownership.

German external debt is allocated to the four economic sectors “Monetary financial institutions (MFIs excluding the Bundesbank)”, “General government”, “Financial corporations excluding MFIs”, “Nonfinancial corporations, households, and non-profit institutions serving households”, and “Deutsche Bundesbank”. Direct investment loans taken up by resident enterprises, which – unlike equity capital – represent borrowers’ liabilities, are reported separately according to the debtor-creditor relationship. The respective stocks reported in external debt are valued at market prices as at the end of each reporting period.

Regarding the concepts, the definitions, and the presentations of the results, the External Debt follows the methodological guidelines of the External Dept Manual (External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users).

External debt is an important statistical indicator of the external sector within the IMF’s "Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus" (SDDS Plus). Metadata are available on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). They describe the methodological, conceptual and institutional framework of German external debt and what distinguishes it from the international investment position.

Data sources

As a secondary statistic, German external debt is mainly based on the international investment position as well as on stock data gathered in the corresponding primary statistics. The main sources include

  • External position of the Bundesbank
  • External position of banks
  • External position of non-banks
  • Securities deposits statistics
  • Foreign direct investment stock statistics
  • Balance of payments statistics
  • Other internal and external sources

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