To whom Australia owes most

The 10 countries with the highest national debt in the world

In most cases, national debt is reported in relation to gross domestic product (GDP). One of the reasons for this is the different sizes of economies.

Debt ratios of over 200% as in the case of Japan are almost unimaginable. And the debt ratios of the European countries by far exceed the stipulations of the Maastricht Treaty: the maximum debt ratio of 60% is observed by very few EU members.

However, in order to let the enormous national debt speak for once, we are introducing you today to the 10 highest national debt in absolute figures.

10th place: Spain (around € 1 trillion - € 1,000,000,000,000)

Spain's national debt literally exploded during the financial and economic crisis - so far there is no end in sight.

From 1990 to 2013, the percentage of national debt rose by around 50% to 94% of GDP. The ailing economy of Spain has the constant new record highs of the national debt of currently around 1 trillion. € not really much to oppose.

9th place: Canada (€ 1.1 trillion)

Canada's debt has increased steadily since 2006. The percentage of national debt in relation to GDP increased from 67% to 89% by 2013, so that a mountain of debt of 1.1 trillion. € amassed.

8th place: Brazil: (€ 1.3 trillion)

The national debt of Brazil has been at the same level for years, the debt ratio has hovered between 65 and 68% for years.

But the rating agencies assess Brazil's creditworthiness due to the weak economic growth and incalculable economic management of the country. Shortly before the soccer World Cup in June 2014, Brazil was downgraded to BBB- by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s - one notch above junk level.

7th place: China (€ 1.4 trillion)

Due to the high debts of local governments, the opaque financial and banking system and a multi-billion dollar economic stimulus program, China is struggling more and more with its rising national debt.

The most populous country in the world is one of the top 10 in this ranking in absolute terms, but this value must be examined more closely. Since China is one of the largest economies in the world, the debt ratio in 2013, according to Statista, was just 22% in relation to GDP. Other sources suspect that the national debt in China could currently be significantly higher.

6th place: Great Britain (€ 1.6 trillion)

In the UK in particular, the financial system is an extremely important contributor to the country's economic performance. But this one-sidedness led to a structural weakness that became apparent in the course of the 2007 financial crisis. 1.6 trillion National debt is the consequence of neglecting other areas of the economy.

5th place: France (€ 1.9 trillion)

France gets its debt burden of 1.9 trillion despite billions in austerity programs. € not under control. The economic forecasts continue to foresee no improvement, the rating agency Moody's threatens to further downgrade France's creditworthiness.

The continuously increasing debt accumulation was already 94% of GDP in 2013. For comparison: in 1990 France still had a debt ratio of 35%, in 2005 the debt ratio rose to 67% of GDP.

4th place: Italy (€ 2.1 trillion)

With just under 2.1 trillion. € (133% debt ratio), the national debt of Italy is similar to that of Germany. However, there is one major difference between the countries: Italy's economic power is 40% less than that of Germany. Italy would have long been insolvent without the loans from the European Central Bank (ECB).

3rd place: Germany (€ 2.1 trillion)

The percentage national debt of Germany is slowly falling below the 80% mark, but there still has to be a (rising) debt of currently around 2.1 trillion. € will be removed. The debt brake and thus the ban on new borrowing from 2020 should help.

Good news comes from the Federal Ministry of Finance: the budget for 2015 should get by without new debts. However, there is still a long way to go before the EU treaty can be fulfilled with a maximum debt of 60%.

2nd place: Japan (€ 9 trillion)

Japan is at the forefront of both the national debt to GDP percentage and the national debt in absolute terms.

In relation to GDP, for example, Japan's debt ratio is 243%. According to this, Japan would have to hand over all the proceeds to its creditors for 2.43 years in order to become debt-free. The additional interest would not even be included in this. However, Japan is at least topped by one country in the ranking of absolute numbers.

1st place: USA (€ 13.4 trillion)

The highest national debt worldwide is 13.4 trillion. € found in the US. If the USA is only in 13th place in percentage terms, the absolute sum of the debt also exceeds Japan's record debt many times over.

The limit of 17 trillion. $ (about € 12.7 trillion) was overturned in 2013 after a week-long budget dispute. Having just escaped bankruptcy, the American government continues to borrow large amounts of money as part of its economic development. However, there does not yet seem to be a plan for budget restructuring.

USA: Also under Biden on a confrontational course? Relations with Beijing and Moscow will hardly relax, at least in the short term, even under the new US administration. > read more


© Verlag für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG, all rights reserved