World Bank warns over $55trn debts in emerging, developing countries

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The World Bank has warned against a fast-rising wave of debts in emerging and developing countries now standing at $55 trillion.

In a new analysis titled Global Waves of Debt, the Bank concluded that private and public debts in emerging and developing economies (EMDEs) by the end of 2018 marked an eight-year surge that has been the largest, fastest, and most broad-based in nearly five decades.

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The study urged policymakers to act promptly to strengthen their economic policies and make them less vulnerable to financial shocks.

Global Waves of Debt is a comprehensive study of the four major episodes of debt accumulation that have occurred in more than 100 countries since 1970.

It found that the debt-to-GDP ratio of developing countries has climbed 54 percentage points to 168 per cent since the debt buildup began in 2010.

On average, that ratio has risen by about seven percentage points a year—nearly three times as fast it did during the Latin America debt crisis of the 1970s.

The increase, moreover, has been exceptionally broad-based—involving government as well as private debt, and observable in virtually all regions across the world.

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“The size, speed, and breadth of the latest debt wave should concern us all,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.“It underscores why debt management and transparency need to be top priorities for policymakers—so they can increase growth and investment and ensure that the debt they take on contributes to better development outcomes for the people.”

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