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2016 edition of International Debt Statistics now available

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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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