Moody's: Coronavirus pandemic leading to worrying spike in Canada's debt levels

by Ephraim Vecina24 Jun 2020

The coronavirus pandemic will likely impel growth in Canadian debt levels by an average of 20% of GDP this year, according to an analysis by Moody’s.

“We estimate that on average … debt/GDP ratios will rise by around 19% points, nearly twice as much as in 2009 during the Great Financial Crisis,” the Moody’s report said. “Compared with the GFC, the rise in debt burdens will be more immediate and pervasive, reflecting the acuteness and breadth of the shock posed by the coronavirus.”

Other nations that might see debt ratio growth of around 20% include France, Spain, New Zealand, and the United States.

The greatest increases (around 25%) will likely be seen in Britain, Italy, and Japan, Reuters reported.

Data from the Bank of Canada showed that this worrying trend is well on its way as household debt continues to grow – and might even reach record highs in the coming months.

Approximately 20% of Canadian households have only two months or less of mortgage payments saved up, while roughly 33% have four months of liquidity, the central bank said recently.

“All of these numbers assume no additional debt being carried, which would lower the value,” Better Dwelling said in its analysis of the BoC calculations. “Bank deferrals aren’t expected to relieve all of this pressure. Many industries expect the pandemic fallout to last more than a year.”

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