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Govt debt ratio highest for India, Brazil

October 31, 2012 18:00 IST

DebtIndia and Brazil have the highest government debt ratios at almost 70 per cent of the gross domestic product among top 10 emerging market economies, a report by Deutsche Bank has said.

According to the report, the average government debt levels of the top 10 emerging market economies, including China, Russia and Indonesia, has halved to 25 per cent, from 50 per cent of GDP since 2000.

"However, Brazil and India are the two countries with the highest government debt ratios at almost 70 per cent of GDP, which is however, still lower than the developed countries' average," the report said.

Since 2000, the debt metrics of top 10 emerging market economies have improved very tangibly, while on the other hand debt levels of developed economies (G-7) increased to more than 110 per cent from less than 80 per cent.

"The EM-10 stand in marked contrast to the G-7, where government debt is currently projected to peak at almost six times the level of the EM-10 around the middle of the present decade," the report said.

In the last two decades most major emerging economies suffered repeated financial crises, but due to much improved external and public debt positions, sovereign debt and balance-of-payments

crises are a thing of the past for these economies now, the report said.

During the 1990s, almost all of the ten largest emerging economies (EM-10) suffered financial crises: India (1991), Mexico (1995), Korea and Indonesia (1997), Russia (1998) and Brazil (1998, 2002).

Only China and Saudi Arabia, among the EM-10, managed to avoid major financial crises during this period.

The report noted the emerging economies are currently more integrated into the world economy than a decade (or two) ago and this has made them more sensitive to 'exogenous' shocks, as the 2008 global financial crisis or the present eurozone crisis have demonstrated, but their improved economic fundamentals will help them to avoid any financial crisis.

Improved economic fundamentals have created much greater policy space and thus most emerging countries are now in a position to respond to growth shocks.

"While the greater integration of the EM-10 into the world economy has made them more sensitive to economic and financial shocks emanating from the global economy, their much improved financial position has made them less vulnerable to the kinds of systemically destabilising crises that characterised so much of the 80s, 90s and early 2000s," the report said.

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