The last time Denmark was this close to ridding itself of foreign debt was the late 1890s, when these obligations were worth less than 1% of GDP. But low European interest rates at the time made financing projects like new railways more attractive with foreign debt, so the borrowing restarted. In recent history, issuing external debt has been a means to ensure sufficient foreign-exchange reserves. After Denmark pegged the krone to the deutsche mark, and later the euro, starting in the late 1970s, market interventions have been used to adjust the krone’s value, which require reserves of foreign currencies to buy and sell.
|Joining Norway and Germany in the ranks of |
foreign-currency debt free nations.
For its part, Denmark’s government still has some 465 billion kroner ($67 billion) in debt, which amounted to 23% of GDP at the end of last year, low by international standards. Around 40% of this debt is held by foreigners, who from now on will only get paid back in kroner.