Global debt surged to a record $258 trillion in the first quarter of 2020 as economies around the world shut down to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the Institute for International Finance (IIF) said in a report. Debt levels are continuing to rise, it further said.
The IIF, which represents global banks and financial institutions, said the first-quarter debt-to-GDP ratio jumped by over 10 percentage points, the biggest quarterly surge, to reach a record 331 per cent. While the rise in debt levels was well below average quarterly gains seen from 2015 to 2019, the pace of global debt build-up by governments, companies, financial institutions and households had accelerated since March, it said.
Overall gross debt issuance hit an “eye-watering” record of $12.5 trillion in the second quarter, compared with a quarterly average of $5.5 trillion in 2019, the IIF said. It noted that 60 per cent of those issues came from governments.
“…over 92 percent of government debt is investment-grade,” the report stated.
Debt in mature markets topped 392 percent of GDP, up from 380 percent in 2019, with the rise in debt ratios outside the financial sector most pronounced in Canada, France, Norway and the United States.
U. S. debt made up half of the total $185 trillion of debt in mature markets.
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