Russia's public debt lighter than ever

The Russian government debt currently does not concern the country's leaders. Russia is in 99th place in the ranking of the world's debtors, so it seems that there is no reason to panic now or in the near future. In other countries, the situation does not look so rosy. This unflattering list is topped by Japan and Ireland.

Country's external debt by itself is not a problem if the state has resources and tools for its maintenance. According to experts, nearly all countries attract borrowed funds to finance public expenditures, and they form the national debt. It often happens that the higher the standard of living is in the country, the higher its debt, as the fulfillment of social obligations and implementation of large-scale macroeconomic programs require additional finances attracted to the debt market.

Currently Japan is leading in terms of this indicator. Based on 2011 accounting results, the country's debt is $105.5 thousands per each citizen. The total amount of debt is $13.5 trillion, and creditors have larger problems than the debtor. Fortunately, the Japanese are responsible people and do not refuse to pay.

Ireland, that has already surpassed the United States, is on the second place on this list. In the US the debt is $49.8 thousand per resident, and this number is only growing. In the U.S., new programs and solutions, including support of voters, is financed through the increase of the national debt. That is, the authorities have adopted the principle of deferred solutions, which means that current liabilities are technically passed on to future generations.

The situation with Russia today is quite acceptable - in 2011 there was 1,247 dollars of public debt for every citizen of the country. The level of debt in Russia is low, which has to do with the fact that the country does not have a great need to attract financial resources for interest. In neighboring Kazakhstan the situation is far more unpleasant. According to the annual report of the National Bank of RK in 2011, Kazakhstan's gross external debt amounted to $123.8 billion dollars. As stated by the Statistics Agency of RK, 16,680,000 100 people live in the country, that is, each citizen has an average of $7,422 dollars of debt.

Russia is at the bottom of the first hundred of debtors, placed between Bulgaria and Peru. Russia's debt does not grow very quickly - in 2011 the debt per person has increased by$ 26. Japan is the leader in terms of growth of debt as well. In 2011 each resident had $12.9 thousands of dollars more debt, which is linked to the strengthening of the yen.

The largest reduction in public debt was observed in the UAE (-800 dollars per person). But the reduction of debt in today's economy is something quite rare. This number was down only in 18 countries out of 168 participants in the rating. It is important to consider the size of the debt ratio to the size of the economy. The leader of the debt load is Japan - the country's public debt is 230 percent of the GDP ratio. Greece is in second place (161 percent), followed by St. Kitts and Nevis. The smallest debt to GDP ratio is in Oman (5 percent), Madagascar, and in Estonia - 6 percent.

A low level of public debt does not guarantee economic prosperity. Madagascar government debt is one dollar per person, Liberia - $41 and the Democratic Republic of Congo - $69. This is only a sign that the country cannot handle more debt and borrow money.

According to experts, Russia is able to increase its debt burden, but there is no special need in this right now. Media reports that the Russian government debt is not the cheapest to maintain, and generally there are enough tools to finance government programs. However, there are objective conditions for a possible increase in government debt. They are due to many large-scale problems facing the country that quite possibly will require borrowed funds. Much will depend on the world situation through the rest of this year, especially the price in oil and gas sector.

Based on the trends of the past year, external debt may continue to decline. In 2011 this number had fallen by nearly $4 billion and amounted to $36 billion dollars, 10.4 per cent less compared to the January 1, 2011. Perhaps, this year the trend will continue, given the good external environment for the export of basic products. Oil prices are still Russia's side.

Valentin Gridin.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov