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« Silly Reasons Not To Invest In Gold | Main | 25 Signs that the Financial World is about to Panic »

UK debt levels damaging growth, warns BIS


Britain's debt burden has surged past the point at which it harms growth in every area of the nation's borrowing, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) warned


Just two other advanced economies analysed by the financial watchdog are into the danger territory where "debt is bad for growth" for all three types of non-financial sector borrowing: government, household and corporate debt, said BIS economists.

"Debt is a two-edged sword. Used wisely and in moderation, it clearly improves welfare," wrote Stephen Cecchetti, head of the monetary and economic department at BIS, and his colleagues in a paper presented at the weekend's Jackson Hole summit. "But, when it is used imprudently and in excess, the result can be disaster."

Examining the point at which debt stops supporting growth and turns damaging, the research found that for government debt, the threshold is in the range of 80pc to 100pc of a country's gross domestic product (GDP). For corporate debt, the threshold is closer to 90pc of GDP, and for household debt, it is around 85pc of GDP.

The UK's debt exceeded these limits in all three areas, with a public sector debt at 89pc of GDP, corporate debt at 126pc and household debt at 106pc, according to the analysis of data for 2010.

Portugal and Canada were the only other nations out of 18 advanced economies studied to breach the thresholds for all three debt types, although other nations had more debt than the UK overall or in individual areas.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron has certainly got his work cut out in the UK.

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