Global debt jumps to record US$237t last year

Global debt rises to a record US$237 trillion (RM916 trillion) in the fourth quarter of 2017. — Reuters pic
Global debt rises to a record US$237 trillion (RM916 trillion) in the fourth quarter of 2017. — Reuters pic

WASHINGTON, April 10 — Global debt rose to a record US$237 trillion (RM916 trillion) in the fourth quarter of 2017, more than US$70 trillion higher from a decade earlier, according to an analysis by the Institute of International Finance.

Among mature markets, household debt as a percentage of GDP hit all-time highs in Belgium, Canada, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. That’s a worrying signal, with interest rates beginning to rise globally. Ireland and Italy are the only major countries where household debt as a percentage of GDP is below 50 per cent.

Still, the ratio of global debt-to-gross domestic product fell for the fifth consecutive quarter as the world’s economic growth accelerated. The ratio is now around 317.8 per cent of GDP, or 4 percentage points below the high in the third quarter of 2016, according to the IIF.

Among emerging markets, household debt to GDP is approaching parity in South Korea at 94.6 per cent. — Bloomberg

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