Global debt surges over $87 trillion compared to 2008 crisis amid coronavirus: Report

A poster depicting a US dollar outside an exchange office in Cairo, Egypt. (File photo: AP)

Global debt topped out at a record $255 trillion in 2019, $87 trillion higher than at the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, according to a report from the Institute of International Finance (IIF).

The surging global debt count comes as governments across the world close down economies to combat the spread of the coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19. Economists have already noted that the economic fallout of the virus will likely dwarf the scale of the recession caused by the banking crisis in 2008.

“As social distancing becomes the norm across most mature economies, global recession looms: a recession which would begin with $87 trillion more in global debt than at the onset of the 2008 financial crisis,” IIF wrote in its report.

The world’s 2019 debt figure of $255 trillion equals out at 322 percent of GDP – 40 percent higher than in 2007.

High debt will be “a sobering realization as governments worldwide gear up to fight the pandemic,” the report said.

It’s a war

The IMF last Wednesday said that the coronavirus pandemic crisis “feels like a war, and in many ways it is.”

Numerous other analysts and world leaders have recently referred to the pandemic as a war. US President Trump on Tuesday said, “Every one of us has a role to play in winning this war.”

Earlier in March, Trump implemented the Defense Production Act to push the private sector into production of equipment to counter the pandemic. The act was passed in 1950 at the beginning of the Korean War to push the private sector into helping authorities achieve wartime aims, and used again throughout the Cold War.

Policy makers across the world have unreleased unprecedented spending to limit the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The US Fed said that its funding buy debt and support the economy is virtually without limit.

The coronavirus has infected over 1.3 million people worldwide, with over 76,000 dead. Nearly 300,000 have recovered.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 07 April 2020 KSA 18:12 - GMT 15:12
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