Managing Debt Sustainability Risks
Asia's COVID-19 response cost $3.6 trillion, equivalent to about 15% of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP). As a result, the region's aggregate fiscal-deficit-to-GDP ratio also increased to 9.8% in 2020 from 5.0% in 2019. In turn, the average government debt-to-GDP ratio in Asia rose by 9 percentage points to 64.7% in 2020. The ratio has already reached worrying levels in some countries, including Sri Lanka (100%), India (90%), Pakistan (87%), and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) (68%).
This report is based on a webinar that examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened debt vulnerability in the region and how the Asian Development Bank (ADB) can help countries keep their debts sustainable despite the need to support COVID-19-related spending priorities.
The webinar was organized by the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) Southeast Asia Department (SERD) under its SERD Policy Talk (SPOT) webinar series, which features conversations on new ideas and development beyond office walls. It aims to inspire people to explore issues outside their normal area of work. It also encourages active interaction and debate from varied perspectives and approaches.
Published July 2021.
Source: Asian Development Bank
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