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Federal government finance: Assets and liabilities

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The Daily

Thursday, December 21, 2006
As of March 31, 2006

At March 31, 2006, the federal government's net financial debt (defined as the excess of liabilities over financial assets) decreased to $514.1 billion, a 1.8% or $9.3 billion decrease from March 31, 2005. An increase of $2.7 billion in financial assets and a decrease of $6.5 billion in liabilities explain this decline.

As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the federal government net financial debt decreased from 39.3% in 2005 to 36.0% in 2006, the lowest since 1984. Per capita, the net financial debt decreased from $16,254 to $15,806.

The increase in assets results mainly from increases in cash on hand, to ensure that the government has sufficient liquidity for its year-end requirements, and increases in advances, especially in the exchange fund account, for transactions on Canadian and foreign currencies. The decline in liabilities is coming mainly from a reduction in bonds and debentures issued by the federal government.

These statistics are based on the actual data released in the federal government's Public Accounts dated March 31, 2006 and converted to Statistics Canada's Financial Management System (FMS). The federal government introduced accrual accounting in their 2003 financial statements. To retain comparability with prior years, these changes are not included in the FMS presentation. A reconciliation to the Public Accounts is available on CANSIM.

Note: The FMS provides a standardized presentation of government accounting for the federal, provincial and local governments in Canada. The individual governments' accounting systems are not directly comparable because the policies and structure of governments differ. The FMS adjusts data from governments Public Accounts and other records to provide detailed data that permit inter-government comparisons as well as compatible national aggregates that are consistent over time. In other words, FMS statistics may not accord with the figures published in government financial statements.

This release is part of a series of data products related to government balance sheets. Provincial and territorial government balance sheet was released October 31, 2006. Local government balance sheet will be released April 25, 2007 and the consolidated government balance sheet on May 3, 2007.

Available on CANSIM: tables 385-0010, 385-0014, 385-0017 to 385-0019 and 385-0025.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 1709.

Data tables are also available online in the National economic accounts module on our website.

Additional data are available through custom and special tabulation. For more information on the products and services of the Public Institutions Division, contact Jo-Anne Thibault (613-951-0767;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Claude Vaillancourt (613-951-1820;, Public Institutions Division.

Tables. Table(s).