How is it that all countries are indebted

Photo galleryThese are the countries with the highest debt ratio in the world

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

Corona crisis drives up debts

Figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that industrialized nations afford much higher debts than emerging countries. According to the IMF, developed economies (including the euro zone and the USA) had an average national debt of 105 percent of average gross domestic product (GDP) in 2019. In emerging markets and middle-income countries (including Asia and Latin America), the debt ratio was only 53 percent. But it is also clear: 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 agency Eurostat (for 2019), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD (for 2018) and the IMF. These statistics focus on developed nations and some emerging economies. Highly indebted countries such as Lebanon, Yemen or Mozambique are not included here. Due to their low economic output, these countries can only be compared with the countries in this ranking to a limited extent.

The IMF only had secure data for 2018 for its financial report published in April 2020. The results for 2019 have been estimated. The IMF analysts also dared to make a forecast for 2020 with the consequences of the corona crisis on national debt in around 15 countries.

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# 10 Canada

According to the IMF, Canada was in debt with 89.7 percent of its GDP in 2018. The estimate for 2019 assumed a slight decrease to 88.6 percent. However, the analysts expected Canada to be particularly hard hit by the consequences of the corona crisis. According to her forecast, the national debt will increase by around 21 percentage points to 109.5 percent of GDP in 2020. According to OECD statistics, Canada had almost reached this value in 2019 (108.5 percent). The data from the OECD deviate considerably for some countries. When weighting, we used the identical figures from Eurostat and IMF when in doubt.

@Photo by Philipe Cavalcante on Unsplash
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# 9 Brazil

According to the IMF, Brazil's national debt amounted to 87.1 percent of GDP in 2018. For 2019, the experts expected a slight increase to 89.5 percent. In 2020, the national debt could soar to 98.2 percent of GDP as a result of the Corona crisis. This would put Brazil at roughly the global debt average of 96.4 percent expected for 2020 (2019: 83.3 percent).

@Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash
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# 8 Spain and Cyprus

Spain and Cyprus shared eighth place in 2019, each with a national debt of 95.5 percent of GDP (Eurostat). According to the IMF, Spain was able to reduce its debt by 2.1 percentage points within a year. For 2020, however, they will rise to 113.4 percent of GDP, according to the Monetary Fund forecast.

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# 7 France

The national debt of France was 98.1 percent of GDP in 2019, according to Eurostat. That meant fifth place in the European Union and seventh place in this ranking. The IMF expected an increase to 115.4 percent of GDP in 2020.

# 6 Belgium

According to Eurostat, Belgium was in debt with 98.6 percent of GDP in 2019. That made it just ahead of France among the industrial and developing countries examined here, making it the country with the sixth highest national debt.

@Photo by Jonathan Riley on Unsplash
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# 5 USA

When it comes to US debts, the experts' numbers differ widely. The OECD puts the debt level of the United States for 2019 at 135.1 percent of GDP. The IMF's estimate was 109.0 percent (2018: 106.9 percent). For 2020, the analysts expect US national debt to amount to 131.1 percent of GDP.

@Photo by Julian Dik on Unsplash
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