Low-income nation debt hits record $860B in 2020

Total outstanding public external debt to China in 68 countries reaches $110B as of 2020-end, finds Shanghai-based research center

The total debt of the world’s low-income countries rose 12% in 2020 to a record $860 billion, according to a report on Monday.

Around 60% of low-income countries are at high risk of debt distress, or are already experiencing it — up from 30% in 2015, the Green Finance & Development Center research institution said in a report.

The largest increases in outstanding public external debt from 2019 to 2020 were seen with the IMF, over $18.3 billion, according to the institute, which is a center of the Fanhai International School of Finance at Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

This was followed by the World Bank with more than $17.1 billion, the Asian Development Bank with $6.1 billion, and Japan with $5.3 billion, according to the report.

Total outstanding public external debt owed to China in 68 countries increased from $105 billion in 2019 to $110 billion by the end of 2020,it said.

China was the biggest single creditor in 17 countries, with the largest shares in Tonga and Djibouti with 55% each, it added.


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