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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

Article: Misc. 
 

$10.2 trillion: The amount of money advanced-nation governments will need to borrow in 2011. As the debts of advanced countries rise to levels not seen since the aftermath of World War II, itís hard to know how much is too much. But itís 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. Thatís 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. Thatís 27.8% of its annual economic output, up from 26.5% this year.

Still, thereís reason to be concerned that governmentsí appetite for borrowing could ultimately push up interest rates, or worse.

But as the IMF warned in a report this week, the chances that investors will balk at lending to governments ďremains high for advanced economies.Ē Thatís a highly undesirable outcome ó picture a financial crisis in which governments canít step in to help, because government finances are the problem. We canít know how close we are to such an outcome, and the need to keep the recovery going would make cutting back now a risky move. Ultimately, though, weíre heading in the wrong direction.

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