Debts mount as global concern

Dec. 1, 2009 at 10:11 AM

NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- It has become increasingly hard to find a country without a debt crisis looming, economists said.

In the wake of Dubai's $59 billion debt crisis announcement Wednesday, Harvard economics Professor Kenneth Rogoff said he expects a new flurry of defaults to occur in about two years, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Pierre Cailleteau, managing director of sovereign risk at Moody's said, "I see very good reasons to be worried … because governments realize they can't afford to guarantee the debts" of companies that are now enjoying the largess of government protection.

In Russia, oil wealth has given way to borrowing for growth. In fiscally conservative Germany, debt is expected to reach 77 percent of the country's gross domestic product. In Britain, debt could reach 80 percent of the GDP next year. Ireland, Greece, Latvia, Japan and Hungary are among the countries with looming debt.

The United States is also facing a debt crisis that could worsen when interest rates increase, the Times said.

Further, as debts creep up on developed nations, aid for emerging markets could be quickly curtailed, Rogoff said.

To refinance debt, emerging markets alone may need to borrow $65 billion in 2010, Gary Kleiman of Kleiman International said.

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