Economy & Politics

Countries with the highest debts worldwide

The high expenses for combating the Covid 19 pandemic currently show that debt is not bad per se. They can even be a sign of prosperity – provided the borrowed money is invested profitably. In the case of private households, for example, property purchases are generating positive red numbers. In this way, the Danes became the nation with the highest private debts in the European Union. At the state level, unbalanced budgets can indicate investments in infrastructure and social services.

Corona crisis drives up debt

Figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that industrialized nations have much higher debt than emerging economies. Developed economies (including the euro zone and the U.S.) had an average national debt of 105 percent of average gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019, according to the IMF. In emerging markets and middle-income countries (including Asia and Latin America), the debt ratio was only 53 percent. But it is also clear that the Corona crisis poses massive financing problems for all countries.

This list of countries with the highest public debt combines statistics for selected countries from the European Statistical Authority Eurostat (for 2019), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD (for 2018) and the IMF. These statistics focus on industrialized nations and some emerging economies. Highly indebted countries such as Lebanon, Yemen or Mozambique are not included here. Due to the low economic output, these countries can only be compared with the countries in this ranking to a limited extent.

The IMF had only secured data for 2018 for its financial report published in April 2020. The results for 2019 have been estimated. The IMF analysts also made a forecast for 2020 with the consequences of the Corona crisis on government debt in around 15 countries.

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