A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN

Global debt reached dangerous highs at $164 trillion

$164 trillion

The International Monetary Fund warns that global debt—recently hitting a whopping $164 trillion—has reached its highest (and most worrying) level since the 2008 financial crisis.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Joshua Roberts
A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN
$164 trillion

Future stability is the chief concern in the IMF’s report, which says global debt accounted for an estimated 225% of world GDP in 2016.

A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN
$164 trillion

Although the report notes banks should be more resilient than before, the IMF says nations with high productivity should be buffering against market downturns.

A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN
$164 trillion

World GDP, year-on-year change

A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN
$164 trillion

China has contributed most to the growing global debt—as much as 40% since 2007—while emerging countries’ debt averaged 50% of their collective GDP, a record high since the 1980s.

A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN
$164 trillion

The US is also contributing heavily to the rapid debt growth, cutting taxes against record-low unemployment rather than scaling down its debt-to-GDP ratio.

A protester carries a sign depicting the earth during the Peoples Climate March near the White House in Washington, U.S., April 29, 2017.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS14HJN
$164 trillion

As economist Timothy Taylor wryly sums up: “When global debt as a share of GDP is hitting an all-time high, it’s worth paying attention to the risks involved.”

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