Chart of the WeekThe Pre-Pandemic Debt Landscape—and Why It Matters

2021-02-02T10:19:45-05:00February 1, 2021|

By Xuehui Han, Paulo Medas, and Susan Yang

Many countries entered the pandemic with elevated debt levels. Our new update of the IMF’s Global Debt Database shows that global debt—public plus private—reached $197 trillion in 2019, up by $9 trillion from the previous year. This substantial debt created challenges for countries that faced a debt surge in 2020, as economic activity collapsed and governments acted swiftly to provide support during the pandemic.

Higher debt can potentially reduce the ability of governments to react to the COVID-19 crisis.

Our data show that the global average debt-to-GDP ratio […]

Big Bad Actors: A Global View of Debt

2019-03-26T15:45:17-04:00October 5, 2016|

By Vitor Gaspar and Marialuz Moreno Badia

Versions in: عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese), Français (French), 日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

In the midst of the Great Depression, the American economist Irving Fisher warned of the dangers of excessive debt and the deflationary pressures that follow on its tail. He saw debt and deflation as the big, bad actors. Now, their close relatives—too high debt and too low inflation—are still in play, at least for advanced economies.

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