Visualising Sovereign Debt

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

One of my all-time favourite graphics has been updated: The Snowball of Government Debt.

Source: Visual Capitalist


What this one image tells us is that only a small minority of countries 'keep their fiscal house in order' by having a sustained surplus. Rather like US and UK consumers, most prefer to finance spending today with debt they might or might not repay in years to come.


Another interesting aspect of this graphic is that the relative size of the debt appears to have little bearing on its marketability. Japan has no trouble selling its outsized debt, mostly domestically at negative rates, despite running huge deficits since the bank bailouts of the 1980s.

11 views0 comments