G7 Nations Desperate for Big Loans: Net Debt Levels of G7 Countries Approach Bankruptcy

A country’s continual trade deficits eventually crystalize into national debt.

The so-called most developed economies of the G7 provide cases in point.

Net Debt by G7 Country

The following list shows the net debt levels for G7 countries, sorted from lowest to highest. With a population of 303.8 million, America leads the G7 with the highest amount of debt.

  1. United States … US$7.387 trillion in net debt
  2. Japan … $5.699 trillion
  3. Italy … $2.131 trillion
  4. Germany … $1.85 trillion
  5. France … $1.503 trillion
  6. United Kingdom … $793.3 billion
  7. Canada … $266.2 billion.

Population of Each G7 Nation

The population statistics below are estimates from the CIA World Factbook.

  1. United States … 303.8 million people
  2. Japan … 127.3 million
  3. Italy … 58.1 million
  4. Germany … 82.4 million
  5. France … 64.1 million
  6. United Kingdom … 60.9 million
  7. Canada … 33.2 million.

Net Debt Per Capita by G7 Country

Based on the above population numbers, the following list reveals that Japan and Italy lead other G7 nations in net debt per capita.

  1. Japan … US$44,722 in net debt per person
  2. Italy … $36,645
  3. United States … $24,315
  4. France … $23,457
  5. Germany … $22,454
  6. United Kingdom … $13,018
  7. Canada … $8,015.

Global Trade Surpluses Only Part of Answer

Some economists might recommend a country to aggressively grow its exports as a tonic to cure deficit and debt issues.

While a positive balance of international trade will benefit any country, debt levels are so high that G7 countries are forced to borrow money to cover interest payments on their loans. Even robust export growth would be inadequate to cover these huge debts.

Countries that Could Loan to G7 Debtor Nations

According to the International Monetary Fund, only 30 countries are today net creditors. The rest of the world is drowning in debt. The 30 nations that could lend money to G7 countries including the U.S. are presented in alphabetical order below.

Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Botswana, China, Finland, Gabon, Iran, Kiribati, Kuwait, Libya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Yemen.

Why Creditor Countries Will Eventually Stop Lending

The problem is that eventually the currencies of debtor nations will devalue if debt levels continue to grow. That means that countries like China that loan money to the United States will be repaid in U.S. dollars that will plummet in value as central banks pump more cash into the system and inflation erodes the value of U.S. currency.

So freshly inaugurated president Barack Obama is quite right in fearing the day that lending nations like China back away from loaning money to the U.S.

Like other developing countries with healthy balance sheets, the Chinese are reluctant to agree to committing vast sums in financial agreements that, in essence, offload G7 debt.

Government spending on infrastructure projects is a step in the right direction. This will create jobs that will stimulate consumer spending, the largest component of a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Next, G7 nations need to focus on commodities and products in which they have competitive advantages in global trade. Only then will creditor countries consider extending more credit to G7 countries burdened with debt.

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