Global Debt to GDP Ratios Examined

Hello Pynksters,

Global debt seems to be spiralling out of control, a problem which the COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing to help.

But did you know? :thinking:

The country with the highest debt to GDP ratio is Japan. (237%)

The lowest is Brunei (with just over 2.6%)

Are you surprised to hear this about Japan? from outside appearances, one would not necessarily jump to this consideration of Japan.

Would anyone like to elaborate on the factors that, in your opinion, have lead to this massive debt in Japan?

Are there any surprises for you on the list of GDP to debt ratio by country? (See link)

Source: World Population Review


The vast majority of the $12 trillion in japanese bonds are held by japanese banks and individuals.

They have a lot of self-confidence I suppose, and being at the forefront of ageing populations in the world, probably consider good ol’ government-backed bonds a safe investment. Another factor is that yen is still a safe-heaven currency, and Japan is itself also the world’s largest creditor with $3.5 trillion in foreign assests, which doesn’t quite compensate, but must provide some further confidence to japanese investors.

Either way, Japan has a serious solvency issue going forward.


Mmmmm…I always thought that public debt of nations has to be resetted. There is no way any nation could ever pay back his debt…to me it is a complete no sense…


My country, Argentina, is a machine to generate debt, and unfortunately our currency is not in demand like the USD in the world, so unfortunately we have great inflation ahead.

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Well some of the debts accrued by countries are for selfish reasons especially in my country. They are taken for projects which are never completed or costs are over priced. I think some kind of checks and balances should be introduced to curb debts worldwide.

In the long-term, the Philippines Total Gross External Debt is projected to trend around 84265.00 USD Million in 2021 and 84565.00 USD Million in 2022, according to econometric models.

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