Global debt has reached a record high, and three countries account for more than half of it, according to a new report released by the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday.
The IMF’s fiscal monitor said total debt reached $164 trillion in 2016, or 225 percent of global gross domestic product. That includes the debt of governments, households and companies.
Compared with the previous peak in 2009, the world is now 12 percent of GDP deeper in debt, the IMF said.
Just three countries — China, Japan, and the U.S. — account for more than half of global debt, and China alone accounts for almost three-quarters of the increase in private debt since the financial crisis.
The IMF warns that countries with elevated government debt are vulnerable to a sudden tightening of global financing conditions, and it said advanced economies were resting on their laurels, with deficits remaining unchanged on average.
It said the U.S. was the only advanced economy expecting an increase in debt-to-GDP ratio over the next five years. That’s due to the recently enacted tax cuts as well as the big increase in spending. The IMF said its U.S. forecasts are similar to those published by the Congressional Budget Office.