BUSINESS

Growing levels of debt associated with risks to financial stability: IMF’s Gaspar

October 13, 2021
Vitor Gaspar, director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department,speaks in Washington DC on risks associated with debt.
Vitor Gaspar, director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department,speaks in Washington DC on risks associated with debt.

WASHINGTON — The pandemic has led to an unprecedented increase in debt — issued by governments, nonfinancial corporations, and households the IMF estimated in the latest Fiscal Monitor report.

In 2020 global debt reached $226 trillion and increased by $27 trillion, the IMF estimated Wednesday in Washington, DC.

High and growing levels of public and private debt are associated with risks to financial stability and public finances, said Vitor Gaspar, director of the IMF's Fiscal Affairs Department.

“According to preliminary estimates from the Global Debt Database, global debt by governments, households, and non-financial corporations reached $226 trillion.

“That represents an increase of $27 trillion relative to 2019. Both the level and the pace of increase are record highs. We know that high and rising debts increase risks to financial stability and public finances,” Gaspar said ahead of the Fiscal Monitor release.

Gaspar emphasized that countries with a high credibility fiscal framework benefit from better bond market access. They also experience lower interest rates on sovereign bonds.

“A strong message from the fiscal monitor is that fiscal credibility pays off. Countries that have credible fiscal frameworks benefit from better and cheaper access to bond markets.

That's a precious asset to have in an uncertain and difficult times like COVID 19. Fiscal credibility pays off!,” added Gaspar.

He also recognized that while the international community has provided critical support to alleviate fiscal vulnerabilities in low-income countries, still more is needed.

“In 2020, the IMF's rapid financing and the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative contribute to make resources available to the countries that need it the most. But more is needed.

“With a general allocation of SDRs of $650 billion, liquidity has been provided, but much more could be achieved if rich countries would make part of their resources available to the developing world.

“By doing so, donors would be contributing to fighting the pandemic and to the achievement of sustainable and inclusive growth,” said Gaspar. — SG


October 13, 2021
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