The speed and scale of the macroeconomic policy response to the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented in peacetime.
The extensive use of direct fiscal policy tools to offset the most damaging effects of the pandemic necessarily had a marked impact on OECD-area governments’ total gross borrowing (new borrowing plus refinancing needs). Having remained stable since the 2008 financial crisis, it jumped more than 70% from USD 9.6tn in 2019 to above USD 16.4tn in 2020 – the highest increase in a single year, and nearly double the rise during the 2008 financial crisis.
While debt levels are projected to fall as economies recover, governments have sought to rebalance their sovereign debt portfolio maturities to strengthen resilience against refinancing risk.
Read the Sovereign Borrowing Outlook 2022: Sovereign borrowing outlook for OECD countries.