Frequently Asked Questions

Public Debt is any financial obligation (such as bonds or loans) assumed by the government, where it agrees to make interest and principal payments on certain dates.

Public or government debt includes the debt of the Department of the Treasury, the Central Bank and Corfo. There is also foreign debt related to sovereign bonds issued abroad, and government notes in US dollars the government owes the Central Bank, and notes issued by the Central Bank (PRC, BCP, BCU, and BCD, among others).

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The debt instruments included under the Central Government Gross Debt are the bonds issued in the local and foreign market as well as the credits with multilaterals (such as the IMF, World Bank among other) and credits, debts or other credit instrument recognized by a particular law. The debt instruments mentioned above are considered under the Central Government Public Debt concept according to the IMF’s definition in the 2014 Government Finance Statistics Manual. These debts are registered in its notional value and are adjusted according to its currency. Thus, to publish the debt in pesos, the inflation-linked debt is readjusted according to the variation of the UF (Unidad de Fomento), and the foreign currencies debt according to the exchange rate corresponding to the report date.

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The methodology used since 2001 to calculate the Central Government Net debt, which is quarterly reported in the Report on Public Debt Statistics, is the Gross Debt minus the Financial Assets, both of the Central Government.

  1. The Gross Debt is informed and registered by the Treasury (for more details, please read the question above).
  2. The Financial Assets are provided by the General Comptroller of the Republic, which registration system is nurtured by different departments registered in the Financial Management Integrated System of the State (SIGFE, in Spanish).

 

 

 Thus, it includes Public Treasury investments and other asset lines from departments of the Central Government:

  • Public Treasury:

o   Sovereign Wealth Funds (FEES and FRP).

o   Other assets of the Public Treasury (OATP, in Spanish, and correspond to seasonal cash surpluses of the Public Treasury).

o   The Fund for Education (FpE, in spanish, created by the Law Nº20,630).

o   The Fund for Diagnosis and Expensive Treatments (TAC, in Spanish, created by the Law Nº20,850).

o   The Fund for Regional Support (FAR, in Spanish, created by the Law Nº 20,378).

 

 

  •  Other Investments:

o   Current accounts, from resources of different Central Government departments, which are pending to being executed or expended. In the case of current accounts and available resources, the names of each item included in the spreadsheet provided by the Comptroller are: Banco Estado, Caja and Bancos del Sistema financiero.

o   Equity and capital participation, which correspond to the historic capitalization of the Fisco in public enterprises, inflation adjusted. For instance, the capital transfers to Codelco are registered in this item.

o   Short-term investments in several Central Government departments, different from Public Treasury, in which is included the state-backed credits to finance higher education that the State have had to buy.

o   Loans of a different nature, which usually represent a relatively smaller amount (social assistance, mortgages, pledges, etc.).

 

 

 

 

 To calculate the Net Financial Position, which is reported quarterly in the Public Finance Report of the Budget Office, only the investments of the Public Treasury must be considered and the Gross Central Government debt must be subtracted.

 

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The International Finance Unit of the Finance Ministry is in charge of proposing and implementing strategies regarding public debt through the Public Debt Office.

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The purposes are:

(a) to develop and maintain an efficient and high-quality bond market, establishing referential rates for the local financial market and local businesses;

(b) to encourage the participation of foreign investors in order to achieve financial integration of our economy with international markets; and

(c) to ensure the financing needs of the government and reduce long-term financing costs given prevailing risk.

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The government issues peso- and UF-denominated bonds in the domestic market. These issues provide referential real and nominal interest rates for other domestic debt.

The outstanding bonds are available in te following link.

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Yes, the bank could also issues bonds. Both the bank and the Ministry of Finance coordinate periodically to plan the debt issuances.

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The annual maximum amount of debt that the government is allowed to contract is determined in the annual budget law. Under this authorization, the government issues dematerialized bonds through the General Treasury of the Republic. 

Operationally, there are several options for the debt issuances. Lastly, the most commona re:

- Through the Central Bank, acting as Fiscal Agent, in periodical bond auctions in local curency, in the dates and by the amounts previously established by the Ministry of Finance.

- Through book-building, in which could participate both local and foreign investors, whose participate through the underwirter banks specially hired for this. This option is ised both for local currency denominated bonds as well as for external bonds.

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In the auctions made through the Central Bank, all the SOMA participantes (Open Market Oprations System, by its Spanish acronym), which in general include: banks, mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance companies.

For the rest, could participate all kind of institutions, both in Chile and abroad.

 

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Information on the auctions can be found on the Websites of the Ministry of Finance  and of the Chilean Central Bank. In the case of the Minsitry of finance, the information is in the following link.

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The government has been issuing bonds in the local market since 2003 and sovereign bonds in foreign markets since 1999.

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The calculation convention for the secondary market is ACT/365 (end of period). 

However, the coupon payment is calculated with a 30/360 (end of period) convention. Therefore, semiannual coupon payment is always the same: nominal amount *coupon rate/2. The bonds are bullet, thus capital is paid at maturity.

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