Debt Levels and Structure

In recent times debt levels have surged to unprecedented highs in both developed and emerging markets, and the Covid-19 pandemic has amplified this trend.

This category of the blog tackles issues related to the level and nature of debt, features of sovereign indebtedness, and the creditor landscape. Among other topics, we discuss:

  • The scope and measurement of sovereign debt; the proper accounting of SOEs, implicit guarantees, and other contingent liabilities.
  • The determinants of public debt dynamics, such as fiscal balances, interest rates and GDP growth, and their effect on long-term sustainability.
  • The type of debt, such as marketable securities or bespoke bilateral loans, and its features – such as its maturity, currency denomination, indexing, and legal jurisdiction.
  • The composition of creditors: whether private (such as banks, investment funds, or retail investors) or official (such as international financial institutions and other sovereign states); whether foreign or domestic (banks and central banks, in particular).
  • The need for more transparent data on debt levels, holdings, and contractual terms.
14 April 2022


Emerging economies will be confronted in 2022 to a very demanding global environment and numerous policy challenges. For them, like […]
19 April 2021

Webinar – A World of Public Debt

The history of public finance and sovereign debt has a lot to teach us. Contemporary issues related to fiscal policy, […]
19 November 2020

[DOCUMENT] IMF Staff Discussion Note on State-Contingent Instruments

On November 19, the IMF released a paper discussing state-contingent instruments. Those are instruments for which the debt service is […]
13 November 2020

[DOCUMENT] G20 Common Framework

On November 13, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors agreed on a common framework for debt distress beyond […]
23 September 2020

[DOCUMENT] IMF Policy Paper on the International Financial Architecture

On September 23, 2020, the IMF published a policy paper to address challenges related to private-sector sovereign debt restructurings. This […]