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- Financial Services Guide
Gambling for resurrection?
By Jamil Baz, Chief Investment Strategist, GLG
Much has changed in the world economy over the past three years, but then nothing has changed. In 2007, the ratio of total debt to GDP was 350 per cent in the US. In the intervening period, we have seen the near collapse of the world financial system, followed by deep recession and ultimately recovery, fuelled by the biggest monetary and fiscal stimulus in history.
It is a stark fact that despite this being a crisis of leverage, total debt to GDP remains at 350 per cent in the US, and at still higher levels in many of the world’s leading developed economies, for example Japan and the UK. There is little disagreement that the status quo is unsustainable. Over the longer-term, the cost of servicing so much debt imposes a massive burden on a country’s finances, ensuring that recovery is anaemic at best.
Although there are no definitive answers, 200 per cent of total debt to GDP is a level consistent with healthy growth, based on pre-1995 conditions. With the best will in the world, we cannot get from here to there overnight: a realistic assumption is that the world can cut back its debts at the rate of some 10 per cent of GDP a year. Meaning that even if we decide to get to grips with this problem, we face fifteen years of low growth or no growth at all.
The full report is available below.