IIF Authors

Status: Will be live at 04/09/2020 15:48

IIF letter to IMF, World Bank, OECD and Paris Club on Debt of LICs

With global debt levels at record highs, sovereign borrowers are increasingly vulnerable to market disruptions. The sharp increase in credit spreads in recent weeks has pushed borrowing costs to their highest levels since the 2008-09 financial crisis—a serious barrier to market access for many emerging market economies.  As global commodity prices hit their lowest levels in almost 50 years and oil market turbulence continues, many low-income and developing countries (LIDCs) are seeing export revenues plummet, while the strength of the U.S. dollar poses additional refinancing challenges.  Referencing countries eligible for assistance from the International Development Association (IDA), we estimate that some $140 billion in general government debt service obligations will come due through the end of 2020, $10 billion of that in foreign currency.  For vulnerable countries now facing acute healthcare and humanitarian challenges, servicing and managing these debt obligations will be close to impossible.  To address the inevitable buildup in arrears and requests for deferment, both public and private sector initiatives will be needed.