Population 5.8 million
GDP 68,202 US$
Country risk assessment
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major macro economic indicators

  2020 2021 2022 (e) 2023 (f)
GDP growth (%) -2.0 4.9 3.6 0.1
Inflation (yearly average, %) 0.4 1.9 7.7 4.8
Budget balance (% GDP) 0.2 3.6 1.7 0.4
Current account balance (% GDP) 7.9 9.0 13.0 10.4
Public debt (% GDP) 42.2 36.6 32.1 30.7

(e): Estimate (f): Forecast


  • World’s second-largest shipping operator (2022)
  • Almost energy self-sufficient (oil and gas in the North Sea and Greenland as well as numerous wind-energy parks)
  • Niche industries with cyclically non-sensitive export goods (pharmaceuticals, wind turbines, food products)
  • Well-managed public finances and large current account surplus
  • Danish Krone (DKK) pegged to the euro


  • Small open economy sensitive to external demand, especially from Germany and Sweden
  • Very high household debt (165% of gross disposable income in Q2 2023)
  • Public sector constitutes a significant part of the country’s employment (30% of employees in first nine months of 2022)
  • High private non-financial corporate debt (123% of GDP in Q3 2023)

Risk assessment

Domestic economy on the rebound

The Danish economy is showing some resilience with export-oriented industries that are less sensitive to business cycles and a recovering domestic consumption. With inflation dropping back quickly towards the end of 2023 (0.7% in December 2023), consumer confidence has started to improve and domestic consumption is expected to continue its recovery in 2024 as low inflation – forecasted to average around 2.4% – and decent nominal wage growth will support rising real disposable income. Exports are still expected to rise, despite a slowdown, exceptionally supported by a strong pharmaceutical sector. The Danish krone is pegged to the euro so the Danish Central Bank will follow in the ECB’s footsteps by gradually lowering interest rates, which will help support investments and consumption.

Corporate insolvencies fell by 11% year-on-year in 2023 for the second consecutive year, taking the number back down to below the pre-pandemic level, an averaging out at the number seen between 2017 and 2019. This is a good indicator for 2024 as revenue and jobs lost in bankrupt entities have been lagging, given that mainly smaller or inactive companies went bankrupt earlier and were still rising in much of 2023. However, the last months of 2023 showed a slowdown in jobs lost and active company insolvencies that is expected to follow the same trend in 2024 with easing inflation, lower interest rates and a brighter outlook for domestic demand.


Continuous double positive balances

The 2024 outlook reflects a robust fiscal position, which is characterised by strong government spending aimed at bolstering the economy. Despite this, a slight narrowing of the public surplus is anticipated. Simultaneously, Denmark's public debt level is poised for a marginal decrease, maintaining its low level in comparison to peer countries. This fiscal prudence underscores the country's careful management of public finances, positioning Denmark favourably in terms of debt sustainability.

Denmark's current account balance in 2024 reflects a structurally positive outlook, driven by consistent surpluses in both the balance of goods and services. This stability is rooted in the economic structure, where a robust export sector and competitive service industries contribute to the overall positive trend. However, occasional volatility is caused by the sizable presence of large domestic companies. Despite this volatility, the current account surplus is anticipated to remain roughly at the same level as in 2023.


Potential friction with the unions on the horizon

Denmark signed a defence agreement with the United States in December 2023 allowing American soldiers and military equipment to be based on Danish soil. Denmark is poised for potential friction between the government and unions due to several contentious measures implemented in recent times. The legal removal of a bank holiday in 2023 has stirred dissatisfaction among the workforce. Against this backdrop this year’s negotiations with unions could be plagued by conflict as 2024 will be marked by cuts to job measures, the introduction of "utility jobs" for immigrants on government support, and easier labour conditions for foreign labour.

The political landscape in Denmark remains relatively stable under the centrist government, which comprises the centre-left Social Democrats, centre-right Liberal Party, and centrist Moderates. Given the government's current unpopularity, polling at around 33%, the likelihood of an early election in 2024 appears minimal (next election is to be held before October 2026). Of particular significance is the upcoming European Parliament elections scheduled in June 2024.


Last updated: January 2024


Denmark is in the process of becoming a cashless society. Bank transfers are the most commonly used means of payment. All major Danish banks use the SWIFT network, as it is a rapid and efficient solution for the payment of domestic and international transactions. Denmark has also implemented the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) in order to simplify bank transfers in euros.
Cheques and bills of exchange are now seldom used in Denmark. Both are seen as an acknowledgement of debt.
Unpaid bills of exchange and cheques that have been accepted are legally enforceable instruments that mean that creditors do not need to obtain a court judgement. In cases such as these, a judge-bailiff (Fogedret) is appointed to oversee the enforcement of the attachment. Prior to this, the debtor is summonsed to declare his financial situation, in order to establish his ability to repay the debt. It is a criminal offence to make a false statement of insolvency.

Debt collection

Amicable phase

The amicable phase begins with the creditor, or his legal counsel (e.g. attorney, licenced collection agency, etc.), sending the debtor a final demand for payment by post, in which he is given 10 days to settle the principal amount, plus any penalties for interest provided for in the initial agreement.
Once the 10 days from the date of the letter of demand have expired, the creditor’s legal counsel can charge the debtor for out of court collection costs (based on an official tariff) and present the debtor with a debt collection letter which gives them 10 further days to pay. If this payment deadline is not respected, the debtor can be sent a warning notice which sets out the date and time of a visit. A third reminder can be sent and calls can be made.
When no specific interest rate clauses have been agreed by the parties (maximum of 2% per month), the rate of interest applicable to commercial agreements contracted after 1 August 2002 is either the Danish National Bank’s benchmark, or the lending rate (udlånsrente) in force on 1 January or 1 July of the year in question, plus an additional 8%.


Legal proceedings
Fast-track proceedings

Since January 1, 2008, overdue payments which do not exceed DKK 50,000 or EUR 6,723 and are uncontested are handled via a simplified collection procedure (forenklet inkassoprocedure), whereby the creditor submits an injunction form directly to the judge-bailiff for service on the debtor. If there is no response within 14 days, an enforcement order is issued.


Ordinary proceedings

If a debtor fails to respond to a demand for payment, or if the dispute is not severe, creditors can obtain a judgement following an adversarial hearing or a judgement by default ordering the debtor to pay. This usually takes three months.
In the case of a judgement by default, the debtor can be ordered to pay the principal amount plus interest and expenses (including court fees and, where applicable, a contribution to the creditor’s legal costs) within 14 days.
All cases, whatever the size of the claim and level of complexity, disputed or not, are heard by the court of first instance (Byret). The court is presided over by a panel of three judges, or one judge assisted by experts, who consider both written and orally-presented evidence.
Appeals on claims which exceed DKK 10,000 are heard by one of two regional courts − either the Vestre Landsret in Viborg (for the Jutland area) or the Østre Landsret in Copenhagen (for the rest of the country). Exceptional cases that involve questions of principle can be submitted directly to the appropriate regional court.
These proceedings involve a series of preliminary hearings, during which the parties present written submissions and evidence, and a plenary hearing, in which 

the court hears witness testimonies and arguments from both parties. Court costs depend on the value of the claim. The losing party generally bears the legal costs.
Denmark only has commercial courts in the Copenhagen area. These comprise a maritime and a commercial court (Sø-og Handelsretten), which are presided over by a panel of professional and non-professional judges. These judges are competent to hear cases involving commercial and maritime disputes, competition law, insolvency proceedings and cases involving international trade.

Enforcement of a legal decision

Domestic judgements become enforceable when all appeal venues have been exhausted. If the debtor fails to comply with the judgment within two weeks, the creditor can have it enforced through the bailiff’s Court. Enforcement can take the form of a payment arrangement, or a seizure of the debtor’s assets. Payment plans are normally agreed in court and the debtor’s assets that can be seized are normally agreed at the same time. Courts normally accept payment plans of up to ten to twelve months depending on the amount.
As concerns foreign awards, the scenario can be more difficult if the decision is issued by an EU member, as Denmark does not adhere to the EU regulations on European Payment Order procedures. Decisions issued by non-EU members can be recognised and enforced, provided that the issuing country is part of a bilateral or multilateral agreement with Denmark.

Insolvency proceedings

Out-of-court proceedings

Non-judicial restructuring can take place through formal composition agreements, whereby the debts owed to the creditors are acknowledged and payment instalment agreed upon, without having recourse to a judge. Nevertheless, the efficiency of the Danish court system means that out-of-court proceedings tend to be used as informal negotiation tools. 


Restructuring proceedings

Restructuring procedures are based on decisions handed down by the bankruptcy court. The court examines the possibility of a compulsory composition and/or a business transfer. These proceedings can be initiated by the debtor, in cases of insolvency, or by the creditor (but only with respect to legal entities). The court then appoints a restructuring administrator. The debtor maintains control of his assets during the procedure but is not allowed to enter into transactions of material significance without the consent of the restructuring administrator. The outcome of the procedure depends on the administrator’s proposal. 



Liquidation procedures are based on bankruptcy orders issued by the Court, either at the request of the debtor or a creditor. The debtor must be insolvent. The Court appoints a trustee who is authorised to act in all matters on behalf of the bankrupt estate. His primary objectives are to liquidate the debtor’s assets and distribute the proceeds between the creditors. Creditors need to file their claims with the trustee for assessment.