Advanced G20 economies are ready to commit to numerical targets for public debt reduction after 2016 to boost investor confidence and create better conditions for economic growth, a senior G20 official told Reuters on Saturday.
The commitment, to be discussed at a summit of leaders of the world's 20 biggest developing and developed economies (G20) in St. Petersburg in early September, will build on a G20 pledge made in 2010 to stabilize debt-to GDP ratios by 2016.
Below is a table with the numerical targets of the public debt to GDP ratios, which could be approved. The numbers for the United States and Canada are for the federal level.
COUNTRY/YEAR 2012 2013 2016 2017
United States 72.6 75.9 78.1 77.3
Britain 75.9 79.2 85.6 84.8
France 90.2 93.6 90.7 88.2
Germany 81.9 80.5 71.5 69.0
Italy 127 130.4 121.4 117.3
European Union 86.9 89.8 85.0 82.7
Canada 33.5 33.8 29.6 28.1
The official said there were no numbers for Japan or for the bulk of emerging market economies.
The targets are part of national plans of G20 members to put their public debt on a sustainable path that were presented at the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Moscow on Friday and Saturday.
The meeting declined to set any targets by 2016, given a consensus that the shorter-term focus had rest squarely on reviving growth.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde told reporters after the meeting that it was up to each country to come up with the best policy mix to deliver debt reduction.
"Our sense is that all players around the table are determined to have their public debt be on a declining path," she said.
"I think the pace at which is declines, the combination of deficit reduction, fiscal consolidation and grow enhancement and support -- that's this very subtle policy mix which is subject of debate between countries," she said.
"Our view is that it should be country specific, it should be progressive over time, but certainly for all of them, it should be anchored with medium-term measures, goals, that will really bring that degree of confidence that countries a serious about bringing their debt down in the long-run," she said.