Global debt rose to a new record high of $281.5 trillion in 2020, driven by measures to curb economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Institute of International Finance (IIF), a global trade group of financial institutions.
"Coupled with a sharp pandemic-driven decline in government and corporate revenues, total private and public debt for the 61 countries in our sample rose by $24 trillion last year, making up over a quarter of the $88 trillion rise over the past decade," the IIF said in a report released late Wednesday.
Global debt outside the financial sector totaled $214 trillion in 2020, compared to $194 trillion the previous year, it said.
Debt in mature markets amounted to $203.7 trillion while emerging markets saw $77.7 trillion of debt at the end of last year.
Global debt-to-GDP ratio hit 355% last year, up 35 percentage points year-on-year.
"The upswing was well beyond the rise seen during the 2008 global financial crisis," it noted.
European countries saw some of the biggest increases in debt ratios in 2020, notably France, Spain, and Greece.
The figure for emerging markets topped 250%, the report said, adding Brazil, Korea, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and China saw the largest annual rise.
The rise in global debt ratios is expected to be relatively modest this year with the backing of rebound in GDP, according to IIF.