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International Debt Statistics: Open Data on a wider scale

Ibrahim Levent's picture

For over three decades debt statistics published by the World Bank have provided the authoritative accounting of the external debt of developing countries. Governments, investors and bankers, academics, and journalists have relied on them to identify financial trends and vulnerabilities.

"The debt crisis of the 1980s brought increased attention to debt statistics and to the World Debt Tables, the predecessor to International Debt Statistics (IDS). Now the global financial crisis has once again heightened awareness in developing countries of the importance of managing their external obligations."
Shaida Badiee

Now for the first time International Debt Statistics 2013 and the IDS database, launched today, include high frequency, quarterly, external and public debt data for both high-income and developing countries collected and compiled by the World Bank in partnership with the International Monetary Fund. Now users can not only examine trends in debt flows within the developing world, but also take a closer look at the external debt of high-income countries, and develop a more complete understanding of global financial flows.

Here’s an example of the data available in the IDS database:




While expanding its coverage, IDS will maintain detailed reporting of external debt data for 128 developing countries along with information on their aggregate net capital flows.
The IDS includes:

  • external debt stocks and flows
  • major economic aggregates
  • key debt ratios
  • average terms of new commitments
  • currency composition of long-term debt, and
  • debt restructurings of developing countries

You can access the full International Debt Statistics database or download the full report in PDF format through the World Bank’s Open Data website

After all these changes and additions, we want to hear from you about how you use the IDS database. Are there lessons we can learn from your data analysis? Are there trends and highlights from International Debt Statistics 2013 you want to share with us? Does adding high frequency, quarterly, external and public debt data change the picture you had of external debt? What else would you like to have included? Let us know and stay tuned for the conversation!


Submitted by Francisco Orchard on
Data from High Income countries is missing. Could you please correct the dataset? Thanks & Regards

Dear Francisco, Thank you for your comment. The World Bank Debtor Reporting System (DRS) is maintained for Developing Countries which have programs with the World Bank. These statistics are available only for those countries. High-income countries do not borrow from the World Bank thus they do not report to DRS. we hope tgis helps. Regards. Ibrahim Levent

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Submitted by Linda on
Nice post!

Submitted by Peter Baril on
Can you advise where I can obtain a breakdown of current outstanding sovereign debt into its three constituent elements: initial capital borrowed, simple interest, and accumulated compound interest? Thank you. pb

Many thanks for your question. The actual breakdown of the Total external debt figures used in the context of International Debt Statistics is debt disbursed (the sum of Disbursements on external debt, long-term (DIS, current US$)) minus principal repayments (Principal repayments on external debt, long-term (AMT, current US$) ). This data can all be obtained using the data query tool DataBank ( Initial capital borrowed we identify as Commitments, public and publicly guaranteed (COM, current US$). Interest is listed as Interest payments on external debt, long-term (INT, current US$) And we do not collect data on "accumulated compound interest" as there is no penalty debt service charge accumulated on these loans we have in the database. The best option for information on accumulated interest that has not yet been repaid is looking at the Interest arrears, public and publicly guaranteed (current US$) indicator. Please let us know if this helped answer your question. Maryna Taran

Submitted by Chris on
I cannot find the data on the countries presented in your example (Germany, France, Japan, etc.). Where do I get this from? Thank you and regards

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