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2016 edition of International Debt Statistics now available

World Bank Data Team's picture

The 2016 edition of International Debt Statistics is published today, and provides comprehensive data on the debt of low and middle-income countries, and quarterly external and public sector debt statistics for high income economies. It shows that:

  • Net external debt inflows to developing countries fell 18 percent in 2014, driven by a sharp, 60 percent contraction in short term debt inflows.
  • Foreign direct investment proved resilient and portfolio equity flows were robust bringing net financial flows (debt and equity) to $1.1 trillion in 2014.
  • The combined stock of external debt of low and middle income countries rose 7 percent to $5.4 trillion at end 2014, but remained moderate in relation to Gross National Income (GNI), an average of 22 percent, and to exports, an average of 79 percent.
  • Short-term debt constituted 28 percent of debt stock, but risks were mitigated by international reserves, equivalent to 114 percent of external debt stock at end 2014.
  • Private creditors accounted for close to 90 percent of net long-term debt flows in 2014; $349 billion, divided almost equally between bonds and banks. Over half these flows (52 percent) went to non-guaranteed private sector borrowers.
  • Net debt inflows from multilateral creditors rose 29 percent to $31 billion, more than double those from bilateral creditors.  The driving force was the 24 percent rise in debt inflows from the World Bank (IBRD and IDA) with low and middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia the principal beneficiaries.
  • Debt flows to Brazil and China accounted for 40 percent of net debt inflows to low and middle-income countries in 2014.  But, the trend was divergent with net debt inflows to China registering a 37 percent decline and those to Brazil soaring to $98 billion, 120 percent higher than the 2013 level. Net debt inflows to other low and middle-income countries (excluding Brazil and China) were $281 billion, 27 percent below the 2013 level.
  • Aggregate net capital flows (debt and equity) totaled $1.1 trillion in 2014, down 5 percent from 2013 due to the precipitous drop in net short-term debt flows.  Net equity flows rose 7 percent, to $668 billion, propelled by a resilient foreign direct investment and robust portfolio equity flows, up 29 percent above the 2013 level to $93 billion. Measured relative to the GNI of low and middle-income countries, aggregate net capital flows were stable at 5 percent.
  • High-income countries reporting to the Quarterly External Debt Statistics recorded a marginal (2 percent) decline in external debt stocks in 2014 but, on average, debt levels were much higher than those of low and middle-income countries.  Data drawn from the Public Sector Database indicate that for many high-income countries government debt-to-GDP ratios fell in 2014 although EU-15 countries recorded a slight increase, an average of 84.4 percent in 2014 (83.2 percent in 2013).

International Debt Statistics 2016 and detailed debt statistics can be viewed, visualized, and downloaded here:



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