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Dutch state assets sink to new low level as gas prices fall

Dutch state assets sink to new low level as gas prices fall

AMSTERDAM: The balance between the Dutch government’s assets and debts fell to a new low of €199bn in 2016, according to figures published on Friday by the national statistics office CBS.

This represents a decline of €57bn from 2015, and is the lowest level since the list was first compiled in 2001. The state’s assets have been in decline since 2012, largely due to lower valuations of Dutch gas reserves. The Dutch government held assets worth €728bn at the end of 2016. These include financial assets such as loans and stakes in financial institutions, valued at €244bn.

Other holdings including land, roads and oil and gas reserves were pegged at €484bn. The Netherlands’ state debt totalled €529bn, mostly borrowings and state bonds, and practically unchanged from 2015. There was a sharp decline in the value of Dutch oil and gas reserves, which fell to €41bn, a whopping €62bn writedown over 2015.

Gas reserves make up a large portion of the total, and a lower valuation has a large negative impact on the balance sheet, the CBS explained.