Quick Bites | Global debt pictured

Global government debt is projected to hit USD 97.1 trillion this year, a 40% increase since 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments introduced sweeping financial measures to support job markets and prevent bankruptcies, but this has exposed vulnerabilities as higher interest rates are amplifying borrowing costs. The graphic below shows global debt by country in 2023, based on projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

With $33.2 trillion in government debt, the US makes up over a third of the world total. Given the increasing debt load, the cost of servicing this debt now accounts for 20% of government spending. It is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2028, surpassing the total spent on defence.

The world’s third-biggest economy, Japan, has one of the highest debt-to-GDP ratios, at 255%. Over the last two decades, its national debt has far exceeded 100% of its GDP, driven by an ageing population and social security expenses.

Australia stands out as well positioned. Our gross government debt is around USD 875 billion, which represents 52% of GDP, well below the peer group.

Source: Visual Capitalist


By 2028, the IMF projects that global public debt will exceed 100% of global GDP, hitting levels only seen during the pandemic.

Source: Visual Capitalist

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