Tracking Global Leverage: External Debt to GDP

This came up, indirectly, while I was on CNBC this morning, so here is a table of the top 30 countries worldwide as measured by external debt leverage. In other words, I’m looking at the ratio of total public and private debt owed to non-residents divided by the GDP of that country.  Obviously, fast-changing exchange rates and massive increases in bailout-inspired government debt issuance make this a ratio to watch.

Graphic removed

[Update] Had some stale data for Europe, but think mostly fixed now. Still some trouble with emerging market data, with damn external debt numbers changing too quickly. In answer to other questions, the debt is on an exchange rate basis as 1/1/2008, while the GDP is PPP.  This was just intended to give a general sense, not to be authoritative. If I get a chance, will wade back in at some point with JEDH/Worldbank data.

[Update 2] Okay, while the idea is broadly right –- people need to pay closer attention to debt/gdp ratios, and we need less chatter about total debt — there are issues galore popping up with this dataset. My fault, and I’m taking the image down until I can get better data. I’ll leave the post itself up.

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