Sunday, 21 March 2010

Average debt/GDP ratio in advanced economies expected to reach the levels seen in 1950

This article from Bloomberg illustrates the point that many are making which is that the financial markets are, to a remarkable extent, under-estimating the gravity of the sovereign debt build up.

March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Advanced economies face “acute” challenges in tackling high public debt, and unwinding existing stimulus measures will not come close to bringing deficits back to prudent levels, said John Lipsky, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

All G7 countries, except Canada and Germany, will have debt-to-GDP ratios close to or exceeding 100 percent by 2014, Lipsky said in a speech today at the China Development Forum in Beijing. Already this year, the average ratio in advanced economies is expected to reach the levels seen in 1950, after World War II, he said. The government debt ratio in some emerging market nations had also reached a “worrisome level.”

“This surge in government debt is occurring at a time when pressure from rising health and pension spending is building up,” Lipsky said. Stimulus measures account for about one-tenth of the projected debt increase, and rolling them back won’t be enough to bring deficits and debt ratios back to prudent levels.

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