As the debts of advanced countries rise to levels not seen since the aftermath of World War II, it’s hard to know how much is too much. But it’s easy to see that the risk of serious financial trouble is growing.
Next year, fifteen major developed-country governments, including the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Spain and Greece, will have to raise some $10.2 trillion to repay maturing bonds and finance their budget deficits, according to estimates from the International Monetary Fund. That’s up 7% from this year, and equals 27% of their combined annual economic output.
Aside from Japan, which has a huge debt hangover from decades of anemic growth, the U.S. is the most extreme case. Next year, the U.S. government will have to find $4.2 trillion. That’s 27.8% of its annual economic output, up from 26.5% this year. By comparison, crisis-addled Greece needs $69 billion, or 23.8% of its annual GDP.
Comment: Be sure to view graphic associated with the WSJ article above. One of the so-called "advanced nations" highlighted below
Irish Debt Woes Revive Concern About Europe
The yield on Ireland’s 10-year bond climbed to 7.6 percent on Friday, expanding the gap with the 2.5 percent interest rate on comparable bonds issued by Germany, which is emerging most strongly from the European debt crisis.
Borrowing costs in Spain, Portugal and Greece also spiked upward again, as investor concern re-emerged that those countries would be hard-pressed to bring their deficits under control and avoid defaulting on their bonds.
Even as global stock markets rallied last week, those bond market jitters were a forceful reminder of how wary investors remained after Europe’s debt crisis last spring, despite the commitment of a combined 750 billion euros ($1.05 trillion) in bailout funds by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
“The scale of the deficits are just so big,” said Philip R. Lane, a professor of international economics at Trinity College in Dublin. “The issues are political as much as they are economic.”
Comment: With the Fed pumping so much money into the economy one wonders when inflation will commence.