The debt crisis faced by Dubai World investment company has led investors to worry about other indebted governments and companies too.
Experts are concerned about exploding debt burdens everywhere from troubled emerging markets such as Russia to the most industrialized nations, including the United States, Germany and Japan.
In Germany, which for years pursued the thriftiest economic policy in Europe, government debt is expected to total 77 percent of GDP next year. And the figure may surpass 60 percent in the United States.
That’s nothing compared to some Eastern European countries, whose debt burden exceeds their GDP.
Few experts expect a government default soon, The New York Times reports. But for companies, it’s another matter.
In Dubai, the government has refused to back Dubai World’s debt, and experts say that may happen elsewhere too.
“I see very good reasons to be worried that at some point in 2010, we are going to see more cases of ring-fencing because governments realize they can’t afford to guarantee the debts of these companies,” Pierre Cailleteau of Moody’s global sovereign risk group told The New York Times.
In Dubai, worries have been eased by news that Dubai World is seeking to restructure only $26 billion of its $59 billion debt load.
“Now that they’re saying $26 billion, it reduces some of the panic that built up in the last few days,” Nick Chamie, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg.
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