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UCP government borrowed over $5B in debt since January

The UCP have borrowed nearly $18 billion a year, 20% more than the NDP borrowed.

Last month, the provincial government updated their Term Debt Issues document, which lists all the term debt they still have outstanding.

It’s been over 2 months since I last wrote about the Alberta government’s term debt, so I thought I’d write this brief update.

During that time, the UCP government traded 12 more term debts:

# of debtsTotal debt
January1$0.750 billion
February4$1.500 billion
March7$2.575 billion
Total12$4.825 billion

Keep in mind that two of the new debts are in Australian dollars, so the total amount that Alberta will end up paying for these—in Canadian dollars—may fluctuate:

  • $100 million, maturing in 2046, 2.4725%
  • $200 million, maturing in 2036, 2.01%

The earliest any of the 12 debts will mature is 2031 (four, in fact). The latest is 2071.

The interest rates on these 12 debts range from 1.65% to 3.9%. However, the effective cost of debt (or the interest rate after tax deductions) ranges from 1.711% to 2.988%.

This new $4.825 billion brings the total term debt traded by the provincial government since the UCP were elected to $34.8 billion, spread out over 74 transactions.

The total amount of term debt owned by Alberta government is a little over $98 billion, a third of which has been issued since the UCP were elected a little over a year and a half ago. About 47% of it was issued during the NDP administration.

Keep in mind, however, that it took the NDP 4 years to rack up $49.72 billion in debt. The UCP have accumulated nearly $30 billion in about 2 years. That gives the NDP an average of $12.43 billion a year, and the UCP an average of $17.39 billion a year.

At this rate, the UCP will have borrowed a total of $69.6 billion during their 4-year term, which will be 40% more than the NDP borrowed during their 4-year term.

By the 2023 election, provincial debt could total as much as $132.6 billion, and the UCP portion would make up 52.5% of it, assuming they keep borrowing at this rate. That’s including subtracting the two debts that mature before then.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news stories, focusing on politics and labour.

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