Saturday, March 20, 2010

India's sovereign debt history in perpective

Carmen Reinhart has a comprehensive Chartbook which provides a pictorial history, on a country-by-country basis, of public debt and economic crises of various forms. The Chartbook is a timeline of a country’s creditworthiness and financial turmoil and complements the thematic analysis with individual country histories, and provides the grounds for a systematic analysis of the temporal patterns of debt cycles, banking and sovereign debt crises, hyperinflation, and, for the post World War II period, the reliance on IMF programs. Here is India's chartbook history for the past 175 years

The yellow shaded region indicates the years in default or restructuring external debt, while those in green indicates near default.

As can be seen from the graph, despite its large public (domestic plus external) debt, India's debt to exports ratio is close to its lowest in more than 75 years. And more importantly, it has been declining.

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