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The nominal amount outstanding minus the sum of all future debt-service obligations (interest and principal) on existing debt discounted at an interest rate different from the contracted rate.

The concept is closely related to that of opportunity cost: if the debtor has a loan that bears a 3 percent rate of interest, it is clear that the debtor is better off than by borrowing at 10 percent. But by discounting the future debt-service obligations at 10 percent and comparing the outcome with the amount borrowed, the NPV will tell how much the opportunity to borrow at 3 percent, rather than at 10 percent, is worth to the debtor.

The NPV can be used to assess the profitability of buying back bonds, although account needs to be taken of how the buyback is to be financed.

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) OECD grant element is an NPV concept, since the grant element is the percentage that the NPV, using a 10 percent rate of discount, represents of the face value of the loan.

In the context of the Paris Club and the HIPC Initiative, sometimes present value is described incorrectly as NPV.

Source Publication:
IMF, 2003, External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users – Appendix III, Glossary, IMF, Washington DC.

Cross References:
Concessionality level
Grant element
Present value


Created on Thursday, August 28, 2003

Last updated on Friday, December 2, 2005