Decline in Debt and Regaining of Trust?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

28/1/2014: Decline in Debt and Regaining of Trust?

The following out this morning:

So is Herr Schaeuble correct? Did reductions of debt help ‘regain trust during the crisis’? Were there actual reduction in debt?

Table summarises 2007-2013 maximum debt levels (for General Government Debt as % of GDP) attained by the euro area economies and the year when this maximum was attained:

Three observations:

  1. With exception of two countries: Germany and Portugal, 2013 debt to GDP ratios are maximal for the entire period 2007-2013.
  2. In the case of Germany, peak debt level attained in 2010 was 82.44% of GDP, while in 2013 estimated level of debt/GDP is expected to be 80.393% of GDP. The reduction is small. Meanwhile, German bund yields are not reflective of any specific reduction – they were low in 2009 and 2010 and they are low now.
  3. Portugal’s peak debt/GDP ratio is notionally at 2012 at 123.8% of GDP. Country 2013 expected debt/GDP ratio is 123.56%, which is statistically indifferent from 2012 levels, so we cannot call this material by any measure.
Here’s evolution of debts over the period in two charts, confirming that there has been no reduction in debt levels relative to the earlier stages of the Global Financial Crisis:

And here is the chart showing how dramatic were the increases in debt levels over the course of the crisis:

But, of course, virtually the entire euro area bond yields have shown improvements in 2012-2013, which is really totally and completely divorced from the debt dynamics:

The IMF is not even projecting decline in debt until 2015…