Governments are continuing to run up huge debt levels, with emerging countries helping push the total global IOU to 80 percent of gross domestic product.
The worldwide tab through 2018 is now up to $66 trillion as measured in U.S. currency terms, about double where it was in 2007, just as the financial crisis was beginning to unfold, according to Fitch Ratings' new Global Government Debt Chart Book released Wednesday.
"Government debt levels are high, leaving many countries poorly positioned for financial tightening as global interest rates begin to move higher," James McCormack, Fitch's global head of sovereign ratings, said in a statement.
After a decade in which global central banks kept interest rates low and made running up debt far less expensive, monetary policy is in a normalization period. The U.S. Federal Reserve, for instance, has raised interest rates eight times since late 2015, and its counterparts around the world are ending the extreme easing conditions from the financial crisis.