For weeks, the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and World Bank have stated the only solution for emerging market economies severely damaged by the coronavirus outbreak is a “debt jubilee.”
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) published a note on Thursday morning that said about $1 trillion in debt owed by developing countries should be canceled to avoid an emerging market debt crisis.
“This is a world where defaults by developing nations on their debt is inevitable,” warned Richard Kozul-Wright, director of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies.
UNCTAD’s report calls for a global debt relief deal for emerging market economies. It indicates “the vital need for decisive action to provide substantive debt relief to developing countries to free up sorely needed resources to respond to the raging pandemic.”
Last month, UNCTAD called for an international effort to create an economic relief package for emerging market economies that would amount to at least $2.5 trillion. It said even before the virus pandemic, many of these developing countries had insurmountable dollar debts.
“The international community should urgently take more steps to relieve the mounting financial pressure that debt payments are exerting on developing countries as they get to grips with the economic shock of COVID-19,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.
Here are some of the countries that have unsustainable debt burdens:
UNCTAD said developing countries “now face a wall of debt service repayments throughout the 2020s. In 2020 and 2021 alone, repayments on their public external debt are estimated at nearly $3.4 trillion – between $2 trillion and $2.3 trillion in high-income developing countries and between $666 billion and $1.06 trillion in the middle- and low-income countries.”
With the pandemic still raging across the world, emerging market economies battered, commodities crashed, and the global economy shifting into a deep depression, it now appears the end game has finally arrived and the need to rescue the world from a prolonged depression will likely be through a debt jubilee.
For some color on the current global situation. Raoul Pal, the former hedge-fund manager who founded Real Vision, recently had this to say: “The whole world’s f**ked.”
Pal’s most recent thoughts on dollar debts and a debt jubilee can be found below:
Less available dollars, in a world of a massive dollar shortage, drives up the dollar creating a shortage both home and abroad. Money printing does not make the dollars available. They get stuck in the financial system and hoarded.
Money for the banks, no money for the debtors…
The domestic shortage of dollars means that money gets hoarded while defaults rise. And the shortage abroad means that $13tn of debt scrambles for the available dollars as world growth slows and banks are less free with capital.
Don’t forget – the $13tn short dollar positions (foreign dollar debt held mainly by foreign corporation and investment vehicles) is the largest position ever taken in the history of global financial markets.
It can only mean a massive, uncontrolled dollar rally.
QE will not fix this. Swap lines will not fix this. A debt jubilee would fix this or multiple trillions of dollars in write-downs and defaults.
It is the dollar strength that brings to world to its nadir (just like the 1930s). It is the dollar system that is the really big problem.
The dollar has eaten all of its competitors and now it is going to eat itself.
And after decades of “kicking the can down the road” – it appears the end game has finally arrived for countries with insurmountable dollar debts: debt jubilee.