World, Economy

Global debt hits record high with $255T in 2019

Institute of International Finance estimates world’s debt pile to surge from 322% of GDP last year to 342% this year

Tuba Şahin  | 07.04.2020 - Update : 07.04.2020
Global debt hits record high with $255T in 2019


Global debt hit all-time high with $255 trillion in 2019, topping 322% of gross domestic product (GDP), the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said on Tuesday.

"Following a moderate rise of $3.3 trillion in 2018, the pace of debt accumulation was much faster at over $10.8 trillion in 2019," the IIF said in a statement.

Governments have accounted for the lion’s share of the rise in global debt since 2007, from less than $35 trillion to $70 trillion last year. The U.S. and China accounted for over half of this increase.

Emerging markets (EM) added over $3.4 trillion to the global debt mountain in 2019, surpassing $71 trillion.

"This has brought the EM debt-to-GDP ratio to a fresh high of 220% of GDP, up from 147% in 2007," it said.

Pointing to global lockdown amid coronavirus outbreak which leads a global recession, the IIF underlined that the gross government debt issuance recorded an all-time monthly high of over $2.1 trillion in March.

The global debt burden last month more than doubled the 2017-19 average of $0.9 trillion, it noted.

If the net government borrowing doubles from 2019 levels -- and there is a 3% contraction in global economic activity -- the world’s debt pile will surge to over 342% of GDP this year, the institution said.

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