US Debt Compared

Taken out of context, the numbers are staggering. The US has a total debt pile of almost $17 trillion (£10.6 trillion), which is expected to rise to almost $23tn in the next five years.

But how does that compare with other major economies?

Japan is not far behind, with current debts totalling $11.5tn. By any standards, these are big, big numbers.

And these countries are not alone – almost every major global economy has debts of more than a trillion dollars, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

But context is needed – after all, debt is not necessarily a problem if you have the income to cover it.

That is why the two most common measures used to gauge a nation’s indebtedness are:

total debt, as expressed as a percentage of total economic output (GDP)
budget deficit, the amount by which a government’s expenses exceed its income, expressed as a percentage of GDP
Some governments actually run a surplus – in other words their income exceeds their expenses. Running a surplus is one of the best ways to reduce overall levels of debt.

For the full data and graph visit the BBC

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.

Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza