Global debt increased by $7.5 trillion in the first half of 2019, reaching a record $250 trillion and the Institute of International Finance sees "no sign of slowdown". Current debt levels are 320% of nominal GDP with China and the United States accounting for over 60% of the increase. A number of economists have named rising debt levels as a big concern especially since interest rates are at record low levels making corporate borrowing that much easier. Almost 40% ($19 trillion) of corporate debt is concentrated in developed economies such as the US, China, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain.
The IFF added that "with diminishing scope for further monetary easing in many parts of the world, countries with high levels of government debt (Italy, Lebanon) - as well as those where government debt is growing rapidly (Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, and Greece) - may find it harder to turn to fiscal stimulus".
The consequences of not addressing the current debt issue are incredibly large. Jerome Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, pointed that the current goal should be to get nominal GDP to grow faster than the debt; however, this takes a long time for countries to accomplish and it is a gradual shift. He also stated that today's economy is relatively sustainable (essentially no bubbles in the near future). The large increase in global debt has been primarily driven by government spending in mature markets and non-financial corporate sector in emerging markets. More than half of non-financial corporate debt in emerging markets is in state-owned companies.
The growth of the global bond market is another cause for the rise in debt levels. U.S. Treasuries are seen as a safe-haven asset for investors in the wake of global economic uncertainty as a result of the US-China trade war, Brexit, and President Trump's impeachment inquiry.