26 Jul 2015

Global Household Debt at the end of 2014 - Over $39 trillion

In my last post, I used the Bank for International Settlements data on credit to the non-financail private sector to show that Private sector Debt had exceeded $100 trillion at the end of 2014. For most of the countries, the dataset allows that Private sector Debt to be divided between "Non-financial corporations" and what is described as "Household and NPISHs" where NPISH refers to "Non profit institutions serving Households". The exceptions are Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the Figures for Household debt for the remaining 34 countries makes for fascinating reading. I've compiled the figures for debt at the end of 2014 in the following table. At the top of the table I give the data for 12 of the 19 Eurozone countries individually, as well as the number for the entire Eurozone. I provide the numbers provided by the BIS (in Local Currency Units), but I also use the dollar exchange rate to calculate the amounts of household debt in millions of dollars.

As you can see, you can find debt levels for households including nearly 4.3 billion people on the planet. That's a fairly substantial proportion of the total population that was estimated to be 7.2 billion in 2013. Together those 4.3 billion people have accumulated over $39 trillion in personal debt - averaging $9113 per man, woman and child.

The table includes population sizes for each country, and this allowed me to calculate per capita debt levels for each country.

The winners are the Swiss who have managed to rack up over $102,000 of personal debt each. They are followed by Norwegians, with nearly $86,000, the Danes with $77,000 and the Australians with nearly $72,000 each.  Luxembourg's residents each have over $64,000 of debt, and the Dutch $55,000.

And so it goes on. An important figure concerns the USA, where the average debt level is nearly $42,000 per person, followed closely by the UK at nearly $40,000 each (over £24,000).

It was relatively reassuring to see that my compatriots in France are relatively frugal with $18,400 in personal debt each (€14,700). But the most sensible people in Europe are, would you believe, the Greeks who each only owe around $13,000 (€10,300).

So, would anyone like to estimate how much interest we collectively pay on this $39 trillion of debt? Again, using a 5% interest rate is just guesswork, but that would already mean around $2 trillion a year.

Oh, and remind me once more where the Banks that lent out this €39 trillion get the money from? Was it from the man in the moon? Or someone on Mars? No, they just created all of it out of thin air with the wonderful magic money tree that they all have in the back of the bank.

So, how hard are they working to earn the $2 trillion a year in interest? Are they working at all?

Is anyone out there still trying to understand how it is that 1% of the worlds population owns half the world's wealth? I would have thought that the answer is blindingly obvious. It is all a direct result of the totally insane way in which we have given commercial banks a monopoly on the ability to create the monetary tokens that we are all forced to use.

Methinks it is time for a change.

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