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The cost of the pandemic will only be truly known in years to come but we can get some good early indications by looking at debt increases around the world. Yesterday the IIF suggested that global debt will hit $277 trillion (365%) by the end of 2020, up around $20 trillion over the year (just shy of the annual size of the US economy). Excluding financial debt (where there is double counting risk), global debt/GDP will go up by 35pp in 2020. It’s hard to believe there’s been a bigger global increase through history. For example during WWII we didn’t have a hugely levered global private sector, only big government debt increases. Obviously, falling GDP in ‘20 will have increased these numbers a little - but on the other side, many countries have offered huge loans, loan guarantees and equity injections which won’t fully show up in these numbers.

  

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