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Five Countries with the Highest Debt-to-GDP Ratios

A nation's debt-to-GDP ratio signifies its debt reliance and its impact. This web story lists the top five countries with high ratios and explores the causes. Explore Nomad Capitalist for global financial solutions.


The debt-to-GDP ratio indicates reliance on debt. Ratios over 1 mean excessive debt. Factors like growth and spending affect it. To handle repayment issues, countries may raise taxes, cut spending, or lower interest rates.

Countries That Run Into Debt Problems

Portugal's banks face bad debt. In 2021, the state injected 112 million euros into Novo Banco. Portugal ranks third in the EU for debt, after Greece and Italy.

Portugal (127%)

Italy, with the EU's 2nd-highest debt-to-GDP, grapples with bad debt and a weak financial system. Sluggish growth forecasts 0.9% in 2023.

Italy (140%)

Lebanon, amid Syrian conflict, depends on remittances for GDP. Budget deficits persist, IMF warns of 550% debt/GDP by 2027.

Lebanon (172%)

Greece's economic crisis prompted IMF and ECB reforms. In H1 2023, a 1.5 billion euro surplus, boosted by tourism, hints at progress.

Greece (193%)

Japan's enormous debt and prolonged economic stagnation continue, despite "Abenomics." Local investors and high savings sustain the country.

Japan (262%)

High debt-to-GDP ratios are seen in the US, Jamaica, Bhutan, Cyprus, Belgium, and Spain. Belgium faces challenges due to strict labor laws and tax regulations.


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