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‘Attack of the debt tsunami’: Coronavirus pushes global debt to record high

The coronavirus crisis pushed global debt levels to a new high of over $272 trillion in the third quarter, the Institute for International Finance said, as it warned of the “attack of the debt tsunami.” The institute said global debt would break new records in the coming months to reach $277 trillion by the end of the year. This would represent a debt-to-GDP ratio of 365%.

It comes after governments across the world stepped up support for companies and citizens in the face of a global pandemic which led to widespread stay-at-home orders. Businesses also had to look for alternative funding as activity came to a halt in the wake of Covid-19. Both events translated into higher borrowing and, therefore, more indebtedness.

“Spurred by a sharp rise in government and corporate borrowing as the Covid-19 pandemic wears on, the global debt load increased by $15 trillion in the first three quarters of 2020 and now stands above $272 trillion,” the IIF said in its latest Global Debt Monitor, out on Wednesday.

Among advanced nations, debt surged above 432% of GDP in the third quarter — a 50 percentage points increase from 2019. The United States, which has implemented one of the biggest stimulus packages in the world, accounted for almost half of this rise.
In the euro zone, government action led to an increase of $1.5 trillion in public debt over the same period, to reach $53 trillion. This is still below the region’s all-time of $55 trillion seen in the second quarter of 2014, when the region was dealing with the sovereign debt crisis.

‘Attack of the debt tsunami’: Coronavirus pushes global debt to record high, CNBC, Nov 19

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