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The magnitude of government debt, and public sector debt likewise, depends on the coverage of instruments used and available data. To accommodate a fair international comparison of related indicators, the IMF, the OECD and the World Bank have agreed to define various debt measures depending on the coverage or non-coverage of instruments: D1 to D4.

The D1-D4 presentation classifies gross government debt and public sector debt into four separate categories, as defined in the 2012 IMF Staff Discussion Note: “What Lies Beneath: The Statistical Definition of Public Sector Debt”. This coverage of instruments according to this classification ranges from a narrow definition including only debt securities and loans (D1) to a fully comprehensive definition covering all six debt instruments (D4), as defined in the Public Sector Debt Statistics Guide for User and Compilers, and the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014.

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