Australian States Say More Than 40% of Debt Foreign-Owned

More than 40 percent of bonds issued by the three biggest Australian states are held by foreigners, according to state government funding arms.

Queensland, the largest issuer among the so-called semi-government borrowers, estimates that about 45 percent of its outstanding debt is overseas-owned, said Queensland Treasury Corp.’s head of funding Richard Jackson. New South Wales Treasury Corp.’s Tim Hext puts the figure for his state at about 50 percent, while Treasury Corp. of Victoria’s Bill Whitford said it was around 15 percent.

That equates to about 41 percent of the states’ combined borrowings of A$159 billion ($167 billion), according to calculations by Bloomberg.

“We continue to see interest from central banks globally in our debt,” QTC’s Jackson said in a phone interview today.

Queensland has about A$76 billion in outstanding debt and carries the second-highest credit score from the major rating firms, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. New South Wales, the biggest AAA rated issuer among the states, has almost A$54 billion outstanding and Victoria has A$29 billion, the data show.

Hext spoke in an interview today, while Whitford commented on Aug. 8.

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