Global debt to hit $255 trillion in 2019 says IIF

Global debt surged by $7.5 trillion in the first half of 2019, hitting a new record of over $250 trillion, said a new report from the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

“With no sign of a slowdown, we expect the global debt load to exceed $255 trillion in 2019 — largely driven by the U.S. and China,” said the IIF.

Debt of $255 trillion is nearly $32,500 for each of the 7.7 billion people on planet, and is more than three times the world’s annual economic output, according to Reuters.

About 60% of the $7.5 trillion debt surge in the first half of the year was caused by the United States and China. 

“Emerging market (EM) debt topped $71.4 trillion in Q2 2019, reaching a fresh record of 220% of GDP; state-owned enterprises account for over half of all EM non-financial corporate debt,” said the IIF.

“EM bonds now comprise over 47% of total EM debt outside the house holdsector — up from 43% in 2009. 

“Spurred by low global rates, FX debt is on the rise again across emerging markets …

“Lack of transparency could exacerbate risks for some vulnerable sovereign borrowers. 

“Heavy debt burdens may also weigh on efforts to mitigate climate change—a significant source of concern particularly for some EMs and low-income countries …

“Some $9.4 trillion of EM bonds/syndicated loans come due through end-2021, highlighting upcoming refinancing risks.”

The IIF’s data are based on Bank for International Settlements and International Monetary Fund figures as well as its own.