Many countries have slashed their public debt ratios in the past, often thanks to macroeconomic conditions. They may be less lucky in the future
LAST year’s global recession may have yielded to a global recovery, but at least in one respect its legacy is here to stay. In many countries, public debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) has increased rapidly since the onset of the global crisis and is slated to rise even more in the coming years because it will take time to reduce government fiscal deficits from their current high levels. Once the recovery has taken a firm hold and no longer depends on life support provided by large-scale fiscal stimulus, the focus must turn to bringing down debt. Past experience shows it can indeed be done, but this task will likely become more challenging going forward.