U.S and China owe half of world’s $235tr debts – IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently released a concerning global debt update titled “Global Debt Is Returning to its Rising Trend.” This report highlights a significant development in the world’s economic landscape, indicating that the United States and China, the two economic giants, are collectively responsible for a staggering 50% of the world’s total debt burden, amounting to a jaw-dropping $117.5 trillion each.

In just a span of one year, from 2021 to 2022, global debt soared by a whopping $200 billion, reaching a staggering $235 trillion. This amount is equivalent to a staggering 238% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and it’s an alarming 9 percentage points higher than the figures recorded in 2019.

While these statistics are deeply concerning, the IMF points out that the lion’s share of this rising global debt can be attributed to developed nations. Specifically, China and the United States have contributed significantly, with China accounting for $47.5 trillion of this financial burden, while the U.S. shoulders a staggering $70 trillion in debt.

The IMF report underscores that low-income developing countries have also witnessed a substantial increase in their debt levels over the past two decades, with an even more rapid acceleration since the global financial crisis. This has raised serious concerns about the challenges and vulnerabilities faced by these nations.

To address this escalating crisis, the IMF recommends several crucial steps. Firstly, it emphasizes the importance of enhancing the capacity of these nations to collect additional tax revenues. This strategy can play a pivotal role in helping them manage their debt more effectively.

Additionally, the IMF advises countries burdened with unsustainable debt to adopt a comprehensive approach. This approach should encompass not only fiscal discipline but also explore debt restructuring options. By doing so, these countries can potentially alleviate their debt burdens, thereby creating fiscal space for new investments that can spur economic growth in the coming years.

Furthermore, the IMF highlights the importance of implementing reforms in labor and product markets at the national level. Such reforms can boost a nation’s potential output, contributing to economic growth and stability.

Lastly, the IMF stresses the significance of international cooperation on taxation, including initiatives such as carbon taxation. These collaborative efforts can alleviate the pressure on public financing and contribute to a more sustainable and stable global economic landscape.

the IMF’s report on the rising global debt is a stark reminder of the challenges facing the world’s economies. It underscores the need for both developed and developing nations to take proactive measures to address their debt-related issues, emphasizing fiscal responsibility, debt restructuring, and international cooperation as critical components of a comprehensive solution to this global predicament.