The Strategist

Developed countries double their public debt in 15 years

03/13/2024 - 02:10

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) forecast that by the end of 2023, the combined debt of OECD member countries stood at $54 trillion, an increase of $30 trillion from just 15 years back, in 2008. The researchers expect that the amount will increase even further in 2024, reaching $56 trillion.

Jesper Rautell Balle
Jesper Rautell Balle
Over half of the debt (around $30 trillion) is owed by the US. China and Japan continue to be this nation's two biggest creditors among the states, according to the U.S. Treasury. China has been progressively cutting back on its investments in US government bonds against the backdrop of the US-China trade spat, but foreign demand for these assets has remained steady.

Approximately 20% of industrialized countries' overall debt in 2023 was attributed to the European Union, 16% to Japan, and 6% to the United Kingdom, according to OECD estimates. As a group, the OECD's debt-to-GDP ratio was approximately 83% in 2023 (up from 82% in 2022). The organization predicts the percentage will rise to 84% by 2024. 

The country-by-country analysis indicates multidirectional dynamics despite the overall stability. For instance, the ratio of government debt to GDP in the United States increased in 2023 by almost 3% to 123%, while it declined in Japan, Portugal, and Spain.