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Global debt level hits $233 trillion record high in Q3 2017:IIF

  • Total debt rose by $16 trillion in the third quarter compared to end-2016
  • But debt ratio to global gross domestic product fell for the fourth quarter in a row as the world economy expanded
China's debt load is worrying investors and observers.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
China's debt load is worrying investors and observers.

Global debt levels soared to a record high of $233 trillion in the third quarter of 2017, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) said on Thursday, though it noted that robust economic growth meant debt-to-GDP ratios were declining.

The Washington DC-based financial industry body said while total debt had risen by $16 trillion in the third quarter compared to end-2016, debt ratio to global gross domestic product (GDP) had fallen for the fourth quarter in a row as the world economy expanded.

It was referring to total debt incurred by the household, government, financial and non-financial corporate sectors.

However, China which has accounted for the lion's share of new debt in emerging markets, saw the pace of debt accumulation slow; debt rose by two percentage points last year to 294 percent of GDP, compared to an average annual increase of 17 percentage points in the 2012-2016 period.

The IIF warned however, of "heavy emerging market redemptions" noting that over $1.5 trillion of bonds and syndicated loans would be maturing through end-2018. China, Russia, Korea and Brazil had heavy dollar-debt repayment schedule this year, it added.