General government, financial assets and liabilities

Updated: 8 September 2022

Next update: 12 December 2022

Change in general government net financial assets compared to the same quarter one year earlier
Change in general government net financial assets compared to the same quarter one year earlier
2nd quarter 2022

About the statistics

The statistics provides information on financial assets and liabilities in the central and local government sectors. It includes assets and liabilities classified by financial object and figures for general government gross debt as defined by the Maastricht criteria.

Total financial assets: Total financial assets at market value, consolidated.

Total liabilities: Total liabilities at market value, consolidated.

Net financial assets: Total financial assets - total liabilities.

Net revaluations: Other changes in volume plus revaluations due to changes in market prices of financial instruments.

Change in net financial assets: Net financial assets year (t) minus net financial assets year (t-1). This equals net borrowing/lending (t) + net revaluations (t)

Net borrowing/lending in financial accounts: Net acquisition of financial assets - net incurrence of liabilities

General government gross debt according to the Maastricht definition: Gross liabilities in the form of deposits, certificates, commercial papers and Treasury bills, bonds, and loans, at nominal value and consolidated (i.e. minus debt between units within general government). This figure is used for comparisons between the EU countries.

Financial instrument: Financial assets and liabilities are classified by main type, aiming at having relatively uniform groups. The classification is based on the international guidelines for National Accounts.

Debtor/creditor sector: Financial assets and liabilities are classified according to which financial sector in the economy the individual debtor or creditor belongs to. Classification is based on international guidelines.

In addition central and local government are classified by institutional sub-sectors.

Name: General government, financial assets and liabilities

Topic: Public sector

12 December 2022

Division for Public Finance

National level only


Eurostat and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The microdata are stored in SAS and Oracle databases, and the disseminated data are stored in the FAME database.

The purpose is to offer comparable time series over a long period of time for the general government's financial assets and liabilities based on the international guidelines for financial accounts.

General government financial assets and liabilities is publised in a new format from 2009 with comparable figures from 1995 to the present. The statistics is based on the database system Finse, a system for the compilation of financial transactions, assets and liabilities by institutional sectors.

The statistics is used in the National Accounts. Other important users are the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Norway, research institutions and mass media.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

The statistics are based on the guidelines for financial accounts in the international National Accounts standards: System of National Accounts (the UN et al.) and the European System of Accounts (the EU), plus the IMF's A Manual on Government Finance Statistics.

General government revenue and expenditure is disseminated the same way and based on the same international guidelines as General government financial assets and liabilities.

The statistics are included in the Financial accounts, which again is part of the National Accounts.

The Statistics Act, § 10

Council Regulation 2223/96. Also Council Regulations 3056/93 and 475/2000, which are not EEA relevant, but connected to the Economic and Monetary Union.

The population comprises all state, municipal and county municipal administrative bodies limited according to the National Accounts regulations for general government. Public corporations and unincorporated public enterprises (financial or non-financial) are not included. The basic sources are the central government's fiscal account, the individual accounts for municipalities and county municipalities, and accounts for other state, municipal and county municipal units (e.g. funds) that are considered part of general government. Counterpart information is also extensively used to give a realistic view of General government's financial situation. In practice there may be gaps due to lack of an overview of the population.

Financial accounts are mainly based on quarterly accounting statistics for financial corporations and mutual funds, quarterly balance of payments data and quarterly data from the Norwegian Central Securities Depository (VPS). The compilations are also based on annual accounting statistics for general government and different types of register-statistics. For areas with incomplete statistical coverage, it is necessary to rely on estimations, judgements and supplementary sources such as statistics for paid and assessed taxes and tax return statistics for individual taxpayers.

The financial accounts are based on source statistics collected by various divisions in Statistics Norway.

The compilation process comprises a long list of reconciliation procedures and consistency checks, which also contributes to the quality assurance of the different statistical sources.

The source statistics may have to be adjusted in order to fulfil the requirements of the financial accounts; first source data have to be adapted to financial accounts data structure; source data are then balanced in the database system. In cases where we have two or more data sources for the same asset relationship, one data serie is selected according to predetermined rules. The most important choice is between creditor and debtor information. Discrepancies occur when there are differences in information given from the creditor and debtor respectively.

Discrepancies can be explained by different definitions or different estimations of value, but can also occur due to errors and shortcomings in the statistical sources. In cases where errors are revealed, this is reported to the division responsible for the compilation of the statistics in question.

Not relevant
Not relevant

The FINSE database provides comparable quarterly figures over time from 1995.

The financial accounts are compiled using different statistical sources. The uncertainty in the financial accounts figures is related to the uncertainty in source data and the compilation methods. Since the database system is an integrated system containing many routines for balancing and consistency checks of data, one could assume that the financial accounts help reduce some of the uncertainty in the source data. On the other hand, the financial accounts require compilation of figures in areas where source statistics are very limited or even lacking. The uncertainty can be substantial in these areas.

In FINSE the figures are revised, as new information becomes available. In order to avoid breaks in the timeseries, new data sources are incorporated in previously published years.