Growth of global corporate debt!

Global debt substantially elevated following the 2008-09 global financial trouble (GFC), amounting to greater than three occasions world GDP in 2018. Nonfinancial corporate debt would be a primary cause of this expansion.

Practitioners and academics have more and more elevated concerns the bigger firm indebtedness turn into a menace to the worldwide economy and trigger an economic crisis similar to the GFC. The COVID-19 pandemic only has increased these fears. As lockdowns and border closures have caused a plunge in global business activities, how firms manage their debt burden has turned into a central subject in economic discussions. High corporate debt turn into the Achilles heel within the global economy that exacerbates the downturn and hampers economic recovery.

Inside a new paper, we reveal that the increase in corporate debt was concentrated in emerging economies. Between 2008 and 2018, nonfinancial corporate debt rose from 56 to 96 percent of GDP during these economies, whereas it increased in the same rate as GDP in developed ones (Figure 1). This increase in corporate debt was mainly conducted through bond markets and contains been largely related to accommodative financial policies in developed economies.

Figure 1: Corporate Debt Outstanding

Line graph illustrating Corporate Debt Outstanding

Note: This figure shows the mixture amounts of nonfinancial corporate debt like a number of GDP during 2008-2018. Nonfinancial corporate debt describes all liabilities (loans, bonds, along with other claims) issued domestically and abroad by businesses that produce market goods and nonfinancial services, as based on the BIS.

Source: Abraham et al. (2020).

Even though the development in debt financing has some strengths for emerging market firms when it comes to expanding and diversifying financing sources, additionally, it amplified solvency risks and firms’ contact with alterations in market conditions. Slower economic growth worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic could impose significant costs to emerging market businesses that elevated reliance upon debt financing. In a number of emerging economies, the proportion of nonfinancial corporate debt held by firms rich in chance of bankruptcy turn into similar or perhaps exceed values recorded in the start of the Asian economic crisis.

Policy makers in emerging economies face challenges to mitigate overall risks and contain corporate vulnerability within the nonfinancial sector. Because capital markets have a huge role within the growth of financial activity and aren’t as controlled as banks, policy makers have limited tools to relieve the perils of growing nonfinancial corporate debt.


Abraham, F., J.J. Cortina, and S.L. Schmukler. 2020. “Growth of worldwide Corporate Debt: Primary Details and Policy Challenges.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 9394. Forthcoming in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Financial aspects and Finance.

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