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Animated: Global Debt Projections (2005-2027P)

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Animated Chart: Global Debt Projections

Total global debt stands at nearly $305 trillion as of the first quarter of 2023.

Over the next five years, it is projected to jump even further—raising concerns about government leverage in a high interest rate and slower growth environment.

As global debt continues to climb, this animated graphic shows data and projections for public debt-to-GDP ratios using the World Economic Outlook (April 2023 update) from the IMF.

Growing Global Debt Projections

After rising steadily for years, government debt first ballooned to almost 100% of GDP in 2020. While this ratio has fallen amid an economic rebound and high inflation in 2021 and 2022, it is projected to regain ground and continue climbing.

World government debt is now projected to rise to 99.5% of GDP by 2027. Here’s data going back to 2005, as well as the forecast for global public debt-to-GDP:

Year🇺🇸 U.S.🇨🇳 China🌎 Global Average
2027P134.0%105.9%99.5%
2026P131.8%101.0%98.2%
2025P129.2%95.7%96.8%
2024P125.9%90.1%95.1%
2023P122.2%84.4%93.6%
2022121.7%77.5%92.3%
2021126.4%72.3%95.7%
2020133.5%70.1%99.8%
2019108.7%60.4%84.2%
2018107.4%56.7%82.8%
2017106.2%55.0%82.6%
2016107.2%50.7%83.8%
2015105.1%41.5%79.9%
2014104.5%40.0%78.6%
2013104.5%37.0%78.3%
2012103.0%34.4%79.7%
201199.5%33.8%77.9%
201095.1%33.9%76.9%
200986.6%34.6%74.7%
200873.4%27.2%64.3%
200764.6%29.2%61.3%
200664.2%25.6%64.3%
200565.4%26.3%68.1%

Debt sharply increased in both 2020 and 2009 in conjunction with economic downturns. Historically, debt levels compared to GDP tend to increase as little as 4% and much as 15% in the five years after a global recession has ended.

In the U.S., public debt-to-GDP is set to reach a record 134% by 2027. The sharp rise in interest rates is increasing net debt servicing costs, which stood at $475 billion last year. Over the next 10 years, net interest costs on U.S. debt are projected to total $10.6 trillion.

China’s debt has also risen rapidly, and is projected to eclipse 100% by 2026. Public debt as a percentage of GDP is forecast to jump fourfold between 2005 and 2027. This year alone, new government debt issuance is projected to hit record levels. A large portion of this debt consists of infrastructure bonds that are focused on boosting the economy.

Comparing Trends Across Global Economies

Below, we show how the public debt-to-GDP ratios for advanced economies compare with emerging markets and low-income countries. Both the U.S. and China are excluded here:

YearAdvanced EconomiesEmerging MarketsLow-Income
Countries
2027P103.8%57.2%43.8%
2026P104.1%56.9%44.5%
2025P104.4%56.6%45.3%
2024P104.5%56.1%46.3%
2023P105.2%55.7%47.6%
2022105.5%55.2%47.9%
2021111.3%58.6%47.9%
2020115.8%61.4%48.0%
2019100.8%51.6%42.6%
2018100.0%49.8%41.5%
2017101.7%49.1%41.2%
2016104.9%48.3%38.6%
2015102.3%45.2%35.1%
2014103.4%39.9%31.2%
2013104.0%38.4%30.9%
2012107.1%38.0%29.9%
2011102.2%38.3%29.9%
201098.4%39.6%28.4%
200993.1%41.1%29.9%
200879.9%36.4%27.5%
200774.7%38.4%29.4%
200678.8%41.0%33.0%
200582.2%45.9%42.0%

In a retreat from 2020 highs, public debt is projected to fall meaningfully compared to GDP by 2027 for advanced economies excluding America. Emerging markets are also projected to see this leverage ratio decline.

Low-income countries have smaller debt levels compared to output, which is expected to continue over the next five years. Despite this, 39 of these countries are in debt distress—or are close to it—as high interest rates add pressure to government balance sheets.

Are High Global Debt Levels Sustainable?

The good news is that 60% of economies are forecast to see their public debt-to-GDP ratios fall below COVID-19 peaks by 2027.

On the other hand, many large advanced and emerging economies, including China, Brazil, Japan, and Türkiye are projected to face steeper debt. In the U.S., payments on public debt have soared to record levels due to rising interest rates.

This comes as aging populations, slower economic growth, and healthcare costs are straining government spending, a trend seen across many advanced economies.

Countries with economic growth rising faster than real interest rates may be more likely to sustain high debt levels. But sticky inflation, prompting higher interest rates, will likely make these debt piles even more fragile.

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The Top Retailers in the World, by Store Count

Here are the top retailers in the world by physical store presence, illustrating the dominance of convenience and drug store chains.

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This circle graphic shows the retailers with the highest number of locations worldwide.

The Top Retailers in the World, by Store Count

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Which retail chains have the highest global store counts?

Owing to their rapid speed of service in providing the basics to customers, convenience chains stand as the clear leaders. Going further, their smaller footprint allows them to expand their store counts at a greater scale.

This graphic shows the top retailers in the world by store count, based on data from the National Retailers Federation.

Japanese Retailers Dominate the Pack

Below, we show the global retailers with the most physical storefronts in 2023:

RankingRetailerTotal Stores WorldwideIndustryHeadquarters
1Seven & I40,454Convenience Store🇯🇵 Japan
2FamilyMart24,251Convenience Store🇯🇵 Japan
3Lawson21,902Convenience Store🇯🇵 Japan
4CP All16,042Convenience Store🇹🇭 Thailand
5AS Watson16,014Drug Store🇭🇰 Hong Kong
6Schwarz Group14,112Discount Grocery🇩🇪 Germany
7Carrefour14,014Supermarkets🇫🇷 France
8Couche-Tard13,505Convenience Store🇨🇦 Canada
9Aldi13,475Discount Grocery🇩🇪 Germany
10Walgreens Boots Alliance12,961Drug Store🇺🇸 U.S.

Leading by a wide margin is Japan’s Seven & I Holdings, with 40,454 store locations worldwide.

The retail giant includes the 7-Eleven franchise along with Ito-Yokado, its supermarket chain. While the world’s largest convenience chain traces its origins to Dallas, Texas, the remainder of the U.S-based company (27%) was acquired in 2005 in a $1.2 billion deal that took the company fully private. Today, the company operates in 10 markets globally.

Next in line are Japan’s FamilyMart and Lawson, each boasting over 20,000 locations. For perspective, Walmart, America’s largest retail company by revenues, operates 10,569 locations globally.

In Europe, Germany’s discount grocery chain Schwarz takes the lead, due to its extensive network of stores. Operating across 30 countries and with over 500,000 employees, the no-frills chain stands as a powerhouse. France’s supermarket giant, Carrefour, follows closely behind.

Ranking in eighth is Canadian retailer, Couche-Tard, with stores largely concentrated in North America and Europe. Since 2004, the company has made over 60 acquisitions, including 2,200 gas stations from French oil company TotalEnergies in 2023. The company is known for its Circle K brand, which operates in 24 countries globally.

Closing off the list is Walgreens Boots Alliance, the only American retailer in the rankings. The company owns the ubiquitous UK-based Boots brand, which was founded in 1849 in Nottingham. Yet as profits margins face increasing strains, it is looking to sell the subsidiary and instead focus more heavily on its U.S. pharmacy and healthcare businesses. With a presence in 13 countries, the pharmacy chain operates 12,961 stores worldwide.

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