‘A slow fiscal death’ awaits some countries in this ‘decade of debt,’ says economist Arthur Laffer Jr.
- The world is looking at a debt crisis that will span the next 10 years, said economist Arthur Laffer.
- Global debt hit a record of $307.4 trillion in the third quarter of 2023, with a substantial increase in both high-income countries and emerging markets.
- The world is looking at a debt crisis that will span the next 10 years and it’s not going to end well, economist Arthur Laffer has warned, with global borrowings hitting a record of $307.4 trillion last September.
Both high-income countries as well as emerging markets have seen a substantial rise in their debt piles, which has grown by a $100 trillion from a decade ago, fueled in part by a high interest rate environment.
“I predict that the next 10 years will be the Decade of Debt. Debt globally is coming to a head. It will not end well,” Laffer, who is President at investment and wealth advisory Laffer Tengler Investments, told CNBC.
As a share of the global gross domestic product, debt has risen to 336%. This compares to an average debt-to-GDP ratio of 110% in 2012 for advanced economies, and 35% for emerging economies. It was 334% in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the most recent global debt monitor report by the Institute of International Finance.
To meet debt payments, it is estimated that around 100 countries will have to cut spending on critical social infrastructure including health, education and social protection.
Countries that manage to improve their fiscal situation could benefit by attracting labor, capital and investment from abroad, while those that do not could lose talent, revenue — and more, Laffer said.
“I would expect that some of the bigger countries that don’t address their debt issues will die a slow fiscal death,” Laffer said, adding that some emerging economies “could quite conceivably go bankrupt.”
Mature markets such as the U.S., U.K., Japan and France were responsible for over 80% of the debt build-up in the first half of last year. While in the case of emerging markets, China, India and Brazil saw the most pronounced increases.
The economist warned that repaying the debt will become more of an issue as population in the developed countries continues to age and workers become more scarce.
“There are two main ways to cover this issue: raise taxes or grow your economy faster than debt is piling up,” he said.
Laffer’s comments come on the heels of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to leave rates unchanged in January, and shooting down hopes of a rate cut in March.
Disclosure: Laffer Tengler Investments, Inc. (“Laffer Tengler”) is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Registration with the SEC or state securities authority does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Laffer Tengler can be found on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov. The comments expressed represent the personal views of Laffer Tengler’s investment professionals based on their broad investment knowledge, experience, research, and analysis. The comments are not specific advice tailored to the specific circumstances of a particular individual. The comments are general and for informational purposes only, based on information and conditions prevalent at the time of publication. The comments are as of the date of publication and are subject to change without notice due to changes in the market or economic conditions that may not necessarily come to pass. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell a particular security, nor is this financial advice or an offer to sell any product. Viewers should not consider or place specific reliance on the content presented as comprehensive advice nor as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities. Laffer Tengler will not provide notice of any change in its opinions or the information contained in this appearance. Individuals are strongly encouraged to seek professional advice specific to their market, economic, regulatory, political conditions, and obligation change.
The information contained in this appearance is for informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. Do not use this information solely when making investment decisions nor select an asset class or investment product on performance alone. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon. There can be no guarantee that any listed objective is achievable nor assurance that any specific investment will be profitable. Laffer Tengler does not undertake to advise you of any change in its opinions or the information contained in this appearance. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there is no guarantee that a portfolio will achieve its investment objective. Always consult a financial, tax, and/or legal professional regarding your specific situation. Past performance is no indication or guarantee of future results.
Laffer Tengler does not control and has not independently verified data provided by third parties, including the data, charts, and graphs presented in this appearance. While we believe the information presented is reliable, Laffer Tengler makes no representation or warranty concerning the accuracy or completeness of any data presented herein.