International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
March 1988
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1.1. Membership and General Objectives

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, like the International Monetary Fund, was established in 1945 following the Bretton Woods Conference. The World Bank Group comprises the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and its affiliates, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), established in 1956, and the International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960.

The World Bank has a world-wide membership of 150 countries, including most of the world’s industrial and developing countries, and including Hungary, Poland and Romania among the centrally-planned economies. Together with its affiliates, it makes loans and credits and provides technical assistance to developing countries for the purpose of promoting economic progress.

1.2. The World Bank’s Interest in Debt Statistics

1.2.1. Objectives Pursued

The World Bank’s interest in debt statistics is both analytical and operational. At the analytical level, debt is clearly of major concern to the Bank in its capacity as a leading international source of information and analysis on the economic situation of the developing countries. The World Bank is unique in receiving primary information on the long-term external debt of developing countries in the form of loan-by-loan data reported by its borrowing members. Building on these reported data, the Bank estimates total external indebtedness for developing countries.

The evolution of the Bank’s debt expertise stems from its operational needs. The IBRD raises the bulk of the funds needed for its operations on world capital markets. Continued access to the capital markets is to a great extent dependent on the Bank’s ability to maintain its reputation as a reliable borrower, and this in turn requires close monitoring, not just of the individual projects it finances, but of the borrowing countries’ overall external financial situation. Even in the case of the IDA, the Bank’s “soft-loan” affiliate which lends to the poorest countries1, and whose funds are made available to it by its more developed members, it remains of great importance to maintain its reputation for effective assessment of developing country risk.

The Bank’s concern with borrowers’ creditworthiness is reflected in its Articles of Agreement. Article III, Section 4, lists seven basic conditions on which the Bank may make a loan or extend a guarantee. One is that:

  • – “… the Bank shall pay due regard to the prospects that the borrower… will be in a position to meet its obligations under the loan.”

The practical application of this condition is contained in the Bank’s operational guidelines and procedures. In the “General Conditions Applicable to Loan and Guarantee Agreements” and the “General Conditions Applicable to Development Credit Agreements”, which are incorporated by reference as part of the conditions of each loan and credit, this requirement is elaborated and interpreted as follows:

  • a) Under Section 9.02, the borrower is required to furnish the Bank all such information that the Bank shall reasonably request with respect to financial and economic conditions in its territory, including information on the borrowing country’s balance of payments and external debt.
  • b) Under Article II, external debt is defined for purposes of the “General Conditions” as “any debt which is or may become payable other than in the currency of the country which is the Borrower or the Guarantor”.

The Bank has compiled information on member countries’ foreign exchange liabilities ever since 1946. Over this period, policies and practices have evolved concerning the interpretation of these requirements in relation to actual debt reporting. The system described in this chapter is the present culmination of the process.

1.2.2. Use Made of Debt Information

As suggested above, the primary use of debt statistics within the Bank is to analyse the debt-servicing capacity of member countries in relation to the Bank’s own lending activities. Debt statistics are also used very extensively in analysing the economic prospects, including external financing constraints, of the developing countries. The Bank’s country economists prepare balance-of-payments projections under alternative assumptions about country performance, world economic prospects, financial market conditions and prospective terms of new borrowing.

In the early days, the external debt data compiled by the Bank were used for internal purposes only, and not published. In 1965, the Bank’s Annual Report included for the first time summary figures and some commentary on the debt of the developing countries. A more important step was taken the following year when the Bank began to publish, with strict regard for confidentiality, an annual statistical compendium providing key debt indicators for individual countries. The World Debt Tables, as this compendium is now called, has expanded steadily over the years in detail, scope and coverage. The analytical information on specific categories of debt has increased; the categories themselves have expanded from their original concentration on public and publicly-guaranteed debt to become a comprehensive survey of the reporting countries’ external debt; and the number of countries reporting under the Bank’s Debtor Reporting System (DRS) has continued to grow. The World Debt Tables is now regularly prefaced by a survey article interpreting international lending developments of the past year and calling attention to major policy issues in external debt management.

Debt information is also published, but in less comprehensive form, in the statistical annex of the Bank’s World Development Report. Full details of these publications will be found at the end of this chapter.

1.3. Collection Method

1.3.1. Main Source

The Bank’s principal means for monitoring long-term debt is the Debtor Reporting System (DRS), set up in 1951. It is based on the reports of long-term external indebtedness from 109 countries that borrow from the World Bank. Like the publications discussed in the previous section, the DRS has evolved considerably over time, expanding the range of information required and the number of countries it covers.

These reports made by borrowing countries are of two kinds: a) loan-by-loan data on long-term debt of the public sector and debts guaranteed by the public sector; and b) summary reports on the long-term debt of the private sector that is not publicly guaranteed.

The data are supplied on special reporting forms (see Appendix 9).

a) For public and publicly-guaranteed debt:

Form 1:Report of individual new loan commitments (quarterly);
Form 1A:Repayment schedule for new loans (used only when repayment terms are irregular) (quarterly);
Form 2:Report on the status of debt outstanding at the end of the year and transactions recorded during the year (annual);
Form 3:Corrections to previously submitted Forms 1, 1A and 2 (quarterly).

b) For private non-guaranteed debt:

Form 4:Aggregate figures on the stock of debt, transactions during the year and future debt service payments (annual).

Should these reports not be received within three months of their respective due dates, the debtor country is considered not current for reporting purposes, and this may affect its eligibility for borrowing from the Bank.

Within one month of the end of each calendar quarter, countries are required to submit Forms 1 and 1A regarding new loans signed during that three-month period. Form 1 asks for a range of data on new loan commitments which makes it possible to organise statistics in a variety of formats for purposes of analysis. The following information is requested:

  • – Commitment date;
  • – Amount and currency of the loan;
  • – Creditor country;
  • – Name and type of creditor;
  • – Name and type of debtor;
  • – Economic sector, or purpose of the loan;
  • – Repayment terms: interest rate and type (variable or fixed), dates of first and last principal and interest payments, and frequency of payments. (In cases where the repayment schedules are not of standard type, a report has to be made on Form 1A giving details of the actual repayment schedule.)

The information contained on Form 1 is used to set up a loan record in the DRS data base. Files of loan records are established for each debtor country.

Within three months following the end of each year, countries must file Form 2, giving information on the status of each outstanding loan, including all transactions during the year. The following information is requested for each loan:

  • – The disbursed debt outstanding;
  • – The remaining undisbursed balances for loans not fully disbursed;
  • – Arrears (if any) of principal and interest.

The Form 2 report also includes information on transactions during the year:

  • – Commitments and disbursements received;
  • – Debt service payments actually made;
  • – Cancellations and write-offs.

The normal reporting period for Form 2 reports is the calendar year. A few countries currently report on a fiscal year basis, but the World Bank favours calendar year uniformity in order to maintain inter-country comparability in the data base. Countries normally report in the currency of repayment.

In 1970, DRS reporting was extended to incorporate private non-guaranteed long-term debt, using reporting Form 4. Loan-by-loan detail is not required, in part because of the sensitivities of private lenders and borrowers and in part because many countries are unable to collect detailed information on commitments. Reports are submitted annually along with the Form 2 report. Aggregated data are requested for:

  • – Disbursed debt outstanding at the year-end;

and for all of the following transactions undertaken during the reporting year:

  • – Disbursements;
  • – Interest payments;
  • – Principal repayments.

Most countries now acknowledge the importance of collecting private non-guaranteed debt information. Detailed data are available, however, only in countries that have registration requirements covering private debt, most commonly in connection with exchange controls. Where formal registration of foreign borrowing is not mandatory, countries mostly rely on balance-of-payments data and on financial surveys. To ensure an adequate response rate, such surveys are usually limited to requests for summary data such as are normally available in corporate balance sheets and income statements.

For more than half the countries reporting through the DRS private non-guaranteed debt is either nil or negligible. For the rest, the data collection difficulties just discussed have resulted in incomplete reporting, and for end-1985 data Form 4 (or equivalent) reports were received from only 20 countries. This number will increase over the next few years, in response to the greater formal emphasis the Bank now attaches to reporting private non-guaranteed debt. In the meantime, Bank staff use other information sources to generate the missing debt numbers for all countries where private non-guaranteed debt is believed to be significant.

1.3.2. Additional Sources and Use of Estimation

As the example of private non-guaranteed debt indicates, considerable additional work is needed in order to arrive at reliable and comprehensive figures on total external debt. This work is of two kinds: a) improving the quality of the reported data and b) filling gaps in country coverage or content.

For reported data, problems of the kind associated with private non-guaranteed debt are exceptional. The loan-by-loan character of public and publicly-guaranteed debt reporting, and the long period over which such reporting has been established, mean that the reliability of the Bank’s data is in general extremely high for the countries covered by the DRS. Nevertheless, variations in quality exist in the data base between countries, owing to the difficulties some of them experience in compiling accurate, complete and timely data, and may in some cases also exist within countries between different categories of debt.

The Bank has three main methods of improving the quality of reported data, often used in combination. First, there are the cross-checks deliberately built into the DRS itself, especially between the quarterly reports and the annual summaries, and between the reports for successive periods.

The second is to supplement the reported data by internal action. One important aspect of this is the use of the Bank’s own accounting records to capture information on loans made by the Bank. Countries participating in the DRS do not file Form 1 and 2 reports on loans received from the IBRD and IDA. Still more important are the data collecting missions mounted by the Bank’s International Finance Division to countries whose reporting is deemed below adequate standards. The Division also provides technical assistance to countries to improve their debt management systems in order to raise reporting standards in the longer run.

The third involves drawing on, and cross-checking with, the data collected by other organisations. In a few instances this means direct incorporation of the data into the DRS: the loan records of the Inter-American Development Bank and of the Asian Development Bank are drawn on in exactly the same way as those of the IBRD and IDA. The Bank also uses International Monetary Fund data to compile its Use of IMF Credit information. In other cases the transfer is indirect. A major example is the use made by the Bank of the OECD/DAC Creditor Reporting System (CRS), jointly sponsored by the World Bank, which provides loan-by-loan reports on official lending that are the mirror image of the DRS reporting Forms 1 and 2. (The CRS is described in detail in Chapter VI.) Occasionally, when debtor country information is not available, CRS data are inserted directly into the DRS data files. Other typical sources for cross-checking data include the US Eximbank and Agency for International Development (USAID) reports.

Where reporting under the DRS leaves gaps in the coverage of a country’s external debt position, estimation techniques are used by the staff of the International Finance Division to fill those gaps. This is the case for all countries with respect to short-term debt (debt with an original maturity of 1 year or under), since the DRS only covers long-term debt.

The preferred source of short-term data is again the debtor country and in many instances World Bank and IMF economic missions are able to obtain data compiled by the central bank of the country. When direct debtor country information is not available, however, creditor-source data are assembled that give order-of-magnitude indications of the level of short-term debt outstanding. The most important source is the BIS’s semi-annual series showing the maturity distribution of commercial banks’ claims on developing countries. By deducting from claims due in one year those that a year earlier had a maturity of between one and two years, an estimate of short-term liabilities by original maturity can be calculated. Combining those estimates with data on officially-guaranteed supplier credits compiled by the OECD gives a “lower bound” estimate of a country’s short-term debt, which is then adjusted in the light of any available additional information.

In the case of private non-guaranteed debt that is not reported, the standard estimation approach starts from a calculation of the stock of debt outstanding, using available creditor source data. Figures on guaranteed export credits, obtained from the CRS, are supplemented by loan-by-loan information on official lending to private borrowers and by information on non-insured commercial bank lending to the private sector. Balance-of-payments flow data provide useful guidelines in the process of building a time-series, including transactions, since private non-guaranteed debt can be treated as the residual between total net long-term borrowing and net long-term borrowing recorded in the DRS for public and publicly-guaranteed debt.

By these means a picture of total external debt is built up for countries reporting under the DRS which is comprehensive except to the extent that the coverage of the DRS itself differs from the core definition. Such differences are small, and are discussed in Section 2.

For developing countries outside the DRS reporting net, the International Finance Division estimates total debt numbers in order to support its estimate of the total debt of developing countries published in the World Debt Tables. Individual estimates are not published.

1.3.3. Confidentiality

The loan-by-loan debt information is reported to the Bank by its members in confidence. Only summary data, which do not reveal individual loan details, are circulated outside the Bank’s International Finance Division. Over the years, conventions have been established covering the form and character of the information published or otherwise made available for general use. These conventions provide for the release of a wide range of analytical information at different levels of aggregation, best illustrated in the specimen country pages of the World Debt Tables at the end of this chapter.


2.1. General

The World Bank has been collecting stock and flow data for developing countries’ external indebtedness for almost four decades and has sought over that period to ensure internal consistency in its definitions and compilation procedures, and compatibility with other statistical systems, notably the IMF’s Balance of Payments. Its concern with the analytical application of the data has influenced the detail of the information required from reporters and its presentation in the Bank’s publications. That emphasis has resulted in few significant differences from the concept of external debt embodied in the core definition, and the Bank welcomes the more standardized approach this concept now represents.

The Bank employs the concept of the “Total External Debt” of a country, which is the sum of:

  • – Long-Term Debt
    • of which:
      • – Public and publicly guaranteed
      • – Private non-guaranteed
    • – Use of Fund Credit
    • – Short-Term Debt

While formal definitions of external debt have been used for particular purposes, for example the definition under Article II of its “General Conditions Applicable to Loan and Guarantee Arrangements” quoted earlier in Section 1.2.1, the Bank has not adopted a unique definition of external debt for all purposes. Its reporting manual for DRS reporters defines in detail the distinctions between categories of external debt, but does not specifically define external debt itself.

2.2. Core Items Excluded or Imperfectly Covered

Loans to non-residents repayable in the borrower’s own currency have been included in the information required from reporters under the DRS, but these data have not to date been included in the data on external debt published by the Bank.

Arrears of capital and interest are also required to be reported under the DRS, but this information has only partially and indirectly been reflected in the published statistics. The stock of long-term debt recorded in the DRS is reduced only by a principal payment actually made, not by one due. Failure to make a payment therefore leaves the stock of debt unchanged, including the arrears indistinguishably in the total. Arrears of interest on long-term debt are not included and not shown. In principle, the published figures for short-term debt currently follow the same convention, incorporating known arrears of principal but not of interest.

Notes and coins held by non-residents are not captured by the DRS and are therefore not included in the published statistics.

2.3. Non-Core Items Collected or Published

In its use of debt statistics to analyse creditworthiness, the Bank has always had a large concern with projecting future flows associated with external borrowing. Particularly important in this respect are data relating to committed but undisbursed debt. In respect of public and publicly-guaranteed debt, for which such information is available through the DRS, the World Debt Tables publishes data for “Debt Outstanding, including Undisbursed”. The undisbursed portion, however, is not included in the published figures for “Total External Debt”.

Marketable foreign currency debt, e.g., Euro-bonds, raises potential problems in adhering to the core definition. Such debt is reported through the DRS at the time of issue, and remains fully outstanding in the data base until partial or complete repayment takes place. Transfers of ownership through market transactions which result in part of the debt being held in the country of issue are not currently captured in the data.

2.4. Other Points Concerning Relationship to Core Definition

2.4.1. Residence

The Bank adheres to the conventions of the BOP Manual (see Appendix 2), taking residence as a matter of location rather than nationality. External debt is that owed by entities physically located in the reporting country; foreign creditors are those located outside the reporting country, irrespective of nationality. This means, for example, that debts to branches of foreign banks located within the reporting country are regarded as internal debts. Similarly, where banks of the reporting country have overseas offices, those offices are not residents of the reporting country and the debts of those offices, accordingly, are excluded from its DRS returns.

2.4.2. Maturity

The DRS itself provides information on long-term debt only, but short-term debt is also published in the World Debt Tables and included in the country totals. Long-term debt, for the purposes of DRS reporting, is defined as debt with an original or extended maturity of more than one year, measured from the date the loan agreement is signed to the date on which the last payment is due. There are a number of borderline distinctions that have to be made to judge whether debts should or should not be treated as long-term. For example, lines of credit are excluded if the term of repayment of the individual drawings under the credit line is one year or less and deposits with the central bank of reporting countries are included only if the term of the deposit is extended to more than one year.

2.4.3. Undisbursed or Contingent Amounts

Information on commitments of public and publicly-guaranteed debt, as well as on disbursements, is collected through the DRS. See Section 2.3 above for the treatment of the undisbursed portion of loan commitments in the World Debt Tables. Information on frame agreements, arrangements which authorise a series of individual loans up to a specified amount, is also collected through the DRS, but related loan data do not appear in the published statistics until actual commitments and disbursements take place.

2.4.4. Treatment of Certain Types of Instrument Equity and Intra-Group Lending

While ordinary equity investment carries no contractual repayment obligation and is therefore excluded from the DRS, external long-term lending to overseas subsidiaries is included as part of the host country’s external debt and reported as such. A separate line for “Foreign Parents” as lending source is shown in the private non-guaranteed debt data published in the World Debt Tables. This treatment differs from the BOP treatment of such lending. Leasing

The World Bank regards “financial leases” as debt to be reported through the DRS. It has not laid down its own definition of a financial lease, and until a commonly-agreed definition has been established, will continue to discuss borderline cases individually with reporters. Loans Repayable in Local Currency

The DRS collects and stores information on debts repayable in local currency, but these amounts are not included in the standard tables in the World Debt Tables or other World Bank publications, which confine themselves to debts repayable in foreign currency. Military

No distinction is made between debt incurred for military goods and services and for other transactions, but it is known that not all countries fully report the debt incurred for military purposes.


3.1. Method of Currency Conversion

Since debt data are normally reported to the World Bank in the currency of repayment, they have to be converted into a common currency (usually US dollars) in order to produce summary tables. Stock figures (e.g., the amount of debt outstanding) are converted using end-period exchange rates, as published in the IMF’s International Financial Statistics (line “ae”). Flow figures are converted at annual average exchange rates (line “rf”). This difference in methodology can give rise to difficulty in comparing flow data with movements in stocks, especially when exchange rates have moved sharply in the course of the year.

3.2. Treatment of Arrears

The Bank collects data on arrears in respect of both capital and interest. Principal in arrears is included, but not identified, in the amount of long-term debt outstanding as published in the World Debt Tables. Interest in arrears is excluded from long-term debt outstanding, unless and until it is capitalised under a debt reorganisation agreement.

3.3. Treatment of Debt Reorganisation

The World Bank’s interest in debt reorganisation is to capture accurately the effect of different types of reorganisation on both debt stocks and debt flows, consistent with the circumstances under which the reorganisation takes place. Whether or not a flow has taken place is sometimes difficult to determine, but is important in the presentation of statistical series used in debt analysis. Four principal types of debt reorganisation are distinguished:

  • a) Forgiveness of debt;
  • b) Refinancing, under which a new loan is provided to meet part or all of the principal payments due on the original loans;
  • c) Rescheduling, under which a change in the terms of the existing debt takes place;
  • d) Consolidation of short-term debt into long-term debt.

In the DRS, these four types are dealt with as follows:

  • a)Forgiveness: Forgiveness occurs where both debtor and creditor agree to a reduction in the amount of a loan outstanding without actual repayment taking place. Other systems frequently use the term “cancellation” in this context, but cancellation has a special meaning in the DRS, applying only where committed but undisbursed loan amounts are extinguished. The World Bank uses the term “write-off” for forgiveness. Write-offs are recorded in the DRS in the year in which they take place. Only outstanding principal balances (including arrears) may be written off, since the DRS (in conformity with the core definition) does not consider future interest payments as debt. If the entire balance of the loan is written off, the loan is treated as closed. Write-offs in the DRS result in adjustments to the stock of debt but do not involve flows.
  • b)Refinancing: Refinancing can occur under very different circumstances, with very different implications for debt flows. Where countries have free access to international capital markets they will often take advantage of favourable borrowing conditions to prepay existing debts incurred on less advantageous terms and replace them with new loans at current market rates. The DRS employs a concept of “voluntary” refinancing in these circumstances, and records transactions in respect of the commitment and disbursement of the new loan or loans and also in respect of the repayment of the old loan or loans. These transactions enter into debt flows in the year in which the refinancing takes place. By contrast, refinancing may also take place in circumstances where the country does not have free access to capital markets. In such circumstances refinancing is an alternative to rescheduling, undertaken by agreement between debtor and creditor to avoid imminent default, and is treated as an “involuntary” refinancing by the World Bank. The Bank does not consider that genuine flows have taken place and the DRS does not record commitment, disbursement and repayment transactions. The distinction between “voluntary” and “involuntary” refinancings is not always easily defined: readers will find a more extensive description under the title “Accounting for Debt Restructuring” in the World Debt Tables, 1984-85 edition.
  • c)Rescheduling: In the DRS, the affected principal payments for each debt covered by the rescheduling agreement are transferred to a new loan. With effect from the beginning of the consolidation period, the outstanding balances of the rescheduled loans are reduced by the amount of principal rescheduled. The impact is therefore not on the recorded volume of outstanding debt, since the reduction in the amount of the existing loans is exactly balanced by the newly-created loan or loans, but on the future principal repayment schedules recorded in the data base. The repayment terms of the original loans are adjusted so that they do not project principal payments due during the consolidation period of the rescheduling. The newly-created loans are amortized in accordance with the terms of the rescheduling agreement and bear interest at their respective moratorium interest rates (the interest charged on the rescheduled debt). Since rescheduling involves a transfer of maturities from one loan to another (as recorded in the DRS) and not new lending, no figures for commitments and disbursements are entered in the DRS.
  • d)Consolidation of Short-Term Debt: As with rescheduling, the consolidation of short-term debt into long-term debt in a debt reorganisation is treated as a transfer of debts. A new debt is created that reflects the debt consolidation, but there are no entries for commitments and disbursements, as such entries are reserved as far as possible to represent the flow of new financial resources to developing countries. The increase in long-term debt under this form of debt reorganisation is balanced by an equivalent decrease in short-term debt. (A similar accounting procedure applies to the transfer of private non-guaranteed debt in a debt reorganisation to debt of a debtor country government or public sector agency.)

The DRS also reflects the changes in creditor and debtor status that can result from rescheduling. When insured commercial credits are rescheduled, the classification of the creditor of the rescheduled amounts changes from suppliers or banks to official bilateral, reflecting the assumption of the assets by the credit insurance agencies of the individual creditor countries. The debts to the original creditors are reduced and a new obligation is created to the official creditor agencies. On the debtor side, where the central government accepts responsibility for the payment of rescheduled debt previously owed by private enterprises, this will be reflected in transfers between debtor categories in the DRS. The reimbursement of these debts by the original debtors to the government (normally through the central bank) is considered an internal transaction.


4.1. Country Coverage

The World Debt Tables contain country tables for 109 individual countries, who are [with one exception2] borrowing members of the World Bank. Eligibility for borrowing is determined by the level of per capita income, the cut-off point for which is regularly reassessed. In mid-1987, countries with 1985 per capita incomes of $2 850 or less were eligible for lending by the IBRD, while those with per capita incomes of $790 or less were eligible for IDA concessional credits.

The World Debt Tables also contain summary data pages organised on a geographic regional basis and by economic and financial criteria (e.g., middle-income oil-importers, major borrowers), as well as tables showing totals for all countries reporting under the DRS. A full list of these countries and of the summary groups is contained in Appendix 7.

4.2. Types of Debtor/Creditor

Borrowers are grouped in the World Debt Tables according to whether they are a) public sector or publicly-guaranteed borrowers or b) private borrowers without a public sector guarantee.

The standard classification of public and publicly-guaranteed borrowers in the DRS Manual gives the following debtor sectoring:

  • a) Central government (debts that will be serviced from the budget of the central government);
  • b) Central bank (defined as the agency that issues currency and holds the country’s international reserves);
  • c) Public corporations (business-type entities, i.e., producing services or a product for sale, wholly owned by the government);
  • d) Mixed enterprises [those business-type entities in which the public sector owns more than 50 per cent but less than 100 per cent of the common (voting) stock];
  • e) Official development banks (non-monetary financial intermediaries, controlled by the reporting country public sector, primarily engaged in making long-term loans on terms that are beyond the capacity of other financial institutions);
  • f) Local government (all political entities below the level of central government);
  • g) Guaranteed private borrowers (private borrowers whose debts are guaranteed against default by the debtor country government or by a public sector agency of that government).

As a gloss on the above sectoring, the public sector is defined, for DRS purposes, as:

  • a) Central government including ministries and other administrative departments;
  • b) Political sub-divisions, such as states, provinces and municipalities;
  • c) The central bank;
  • d) Autonomous institutions, financial and non-financial, where:
    • i) the budget of the institution is subject to the approval of the government of the reporting country; or
    • ii) the government owns more than 50 per cent of the voting stock or more than half of the members of the board of directors are government representatives; or
    • iii) in case of default, the state would become liable for the debt of the institution.

This definition is identical with that used in the OECD’s Creditor Reporting System.

The debtor classification of non-guaranteed private borrowers (those covered by Form 4 reports) is: commercial banks (deposit-money banks), direct investment enterprises, and all others.

On the creditor side, the DRS divides holders of public and publicly-guaranteed debt into official creditors (international organisations, governments and government agencies) and private creditors (exporters, private banks and other financial institutions, bonds, and nationalisations).

The classification in Form 4 for private non-guaranteed debt is between: private banks and other financial institutions, foreign parents and affiliates, exporters and other private sources; and official sources (governments and international organisations).

4.3. Types of Claim

The DRS collects a wide variety of information on the terms and characteristics of individual loan agreements, but does not categorise claims by standard types. Average terms for new commitments on loans committed during the year are published in the World Debt Tables, together with memorandum items showing the proportion of public debt contracted on concessional terms3 and the proportion contracted at variable rates of interest. See specimen tables at end of the chapter.


5.1. Data for Calculating “Net Debt” and Flows

The DRS does not collect information on the external assets of its reporting countries. Where a reporting country is itself a creditor of another reporting country, that information will be captured, but in general the DRS focuses on the concept of gross debt.

The DRS seeks comprehensive information on long-term loan transactions, and detailed data on flows are published in the World Debt Tables.

5.2. Data on Debt Service

As a sub-set of its data on flows, the World Debt Tables publishes detailed debt service information, on the basis of payments actually made during a reporting year. It publishes projections of future debt service (see next section), and it also includes historic debt service ratios.

5.3. Debt Service Projections

A particular feature of the DRS reporting is that it stores the information necessary to project future debt service payments on the outstanding debt, including undisbursed, of reporting countries as of the latest reporting date. There are three main elements in such projections: a) undisbursed commitments; b) future principal repayments; and c) future interest payments. These are treated within the DRS as follows:

  • a)Undisbursed commitments: All undisbursed commitments are disbursed within the DRS projection routine according to one of two methods: pro forma disbursement profiles based on observed experience are used to approximate the disbursement pattern of many standard loan types; specific disbursement schedules are used where the debtor country has its own timetable for utilising individual loans and has reported this on DRS Form 1A.
  • b)Principal repayments: future principal repayments are projected according to the terms of the individual loan contracts, both on the existing stock of debt outstanding and on the projected disbursements from the undisbursed loan amounts.
  • c)Interest payments: future interest payments are calculated on the stock of debt outstanding plus projected future disbursements minus future projected repayments of principal. The DRS has the capability to project interest on floating-rate debt across the range of future interest rates. In the World Debt Tables, however, future interest service is projected on the basis of interest rates prevailing at the latest reporting date.

Debt service projections are published for the eight-year period extending beyond the latest reporting date in the World Debt Tables. These projections do not take account of any new loans committed or debt reorganisation implemented after the reporting date.

5.4. Other

Reflecting its concern with the analytical use of debt data, the World Debt Tables includes in its country data pages several major economic aggregates (e.g., gross national product), together with a range of standard debt ratios and indicator charts.

1.The International Development Association (IDA) lends on highly concessional terms to the poorest countries among the Bank’s membership. New IDA loans have maturities of 35-40 years, including a ten-year grace period. An annual service charge of 0.75 per cent is charged on disbursed balances outstanding.
2.Because of its importance as a financial centre, Hong Kong reports to the Bank under the DRS even though it is not a borrower from the Bank and not required to do so.
3.Loans are considered to be on concessional terms when their original grant element is 25 per cent or above. Grant elements are calculated on a discount factor of 10 per cent. (A full explanation of the basis of the calculation will be found in the notes to the World Debt Tables.)


A. Regular Publications Containing Debt Statistics

1. World Debt Tables

  • – Frequency, date of publication: annual, January/February;

Obtainable from:

  • – Publications Sales UnitWorld Bank1818 H Street, N.W.Washington D.C. 20433
  • – Price $125

Data shown for eight years: (1987-88 edition) 1975, 1980-86; projected debt service for 1987-94.

Also available on magnetic tape.

2. World Debt Tables – Supplements

  • – Frequency, date of publication: up to three times a year (normally in March, June and August)

Obtainable from:

  • – As above
  • – Price: included in subscription to World Debt Tables

Contains statistical tables showing updates of the external debt of selected reporting countries.

Also available on magnetic tape.

3. World Development Report

  • – Frequency, date of publication: annual, around July.

Obtainable from:

  • – Publications Sales UnitWorld Bank1818 H Street, N.W.Washington D.C. 20433
  • – Price $12.75.
TOTAL EXTERNAL DEBT (EDT). .579,398.5672,010.1745,192.4807,830.6876,833.1949,073.91,021,166.4
Long-Term Debt161,944.9433,631.9498,011.4556,885.3639,356.2713,812.4783,600.4870,709.3
Public and Publicly Guaranteed126,160.8359,102.6402,555.3454,664.7528,040.9603,198.8682,392.8780,435.3
Private Nonguaranteed35,784.174,529.395,456.1102,220.6111,315.3110,613.5101,207.690,274.0
Use of IMF Credit4,868.19,446.614,844.920,208.130,429.333,402.537,599.440,215.9
Short-Term Debt. .136,320.0159,153.8168,099.0138,045.1129,618.2127,874.1110,241.2
Debt Outstanding, including Undisbursed180,758.6496,230.8549,920.9607,748.3680,614.6748,721.2838,744.1939,814.8
Official Creditors109,527.5257,420.8281,322.3304,112.0329,425.2363,137.6408,296.8465,303.3
Private Creditors71,231.1238,810.0268,598.6303,636.3351,189.4385,583.5430,447.3474,511.5
Financial Markets51,226.9206,084.5234,522.4268,327.7313,045.7348,147.6388,568.3430,282.6
Debt Outstanding & Disbursed (DOD)126,160.8359,102.6401.555.3454,664.7528,040.9603,198.8682,392.8780,435.3
Official Creditors71,884.9162,462.9180,870.9199,448.8222,241.3256,508.1295,014.0343,157.9
Private Creditors54,275.9196,639.7221,684.4255,215.9305,799.6346,690.7387,378.8437,277.4
Financial Markets41,515.3173,461.9199,301.6231,641.0279,081.6319,460.1355,694.7402,859.6
Official Creditors21,655.045,850.342,347.240,459.439,505.137,349.433,972.940,596.8
Private Creditors23,099.053,877.164,749.468,072.456,069.244,027.048,247.531,595.2
Financial Markets16,880.147,631.655,675.260,791.146,995.937,476.243,227.628,268.2
Official Creditors15,123.628,399.832,887.632,307.932,778.533,055.430,558.836,883.6
Private Creditors18,410.953,985.858,116.362,460.053,530.146,023.546,541.538,246.7
Financial Markets14,302.748,145.952,037.855,894.845,449.839,330.240,553.533,392.7
Principal Repayments9,071.030,297.434,536.336,024.135,164.136,749.844,044.548,164.7
Official Creditors3,087.77,330.18,451.59,648.410,985.911,447.714,078.417,384.5
Private Creditors5,983.422,967.326,084.826,375.724,178.225,302.129.966.130,780.2
Financial Markets3,482.918,226.220,998.321,196.919,318.620,472.725,174.025,118.7
Net Flows24,463.552,088.256,467.658,743.851,144.542,329.233,055.826,965.6
Official Creditors12,035.921,069.724,436.122,659.621,792.621,607.716,480.419,499.1
Private Creditors12,427.531,018.532,031.536,084.329,352.020,721.416,575.47,466.5
Financial Markets10,819.929,919.731,039.434,697.926,131.218,857.515,379.58,274.0
Interest Payments (INT)5,521.325,384.131,252.336,305.136,506.340,212.144,951.147,675.8
Official Creditors2,174.86,220.47,057.88,146.28,971.39,991.711.6110.815,340.1
Private Creditors3,346.519,163.724,194.528,158.927,534.930,220.433,340.332,335.7
Financial Markets2,723.417,586.522,605.826,510.425,856.828,393.531,159.330,065.9
Net Transfers18,942.226,704.225,2 15.322,438.714,638.22,117.0−11,895.3−20,710.2
Official Creditors9,861.214,849.317,378.314,513.312,821.211,616.04,869.64,159.1
Private Creditors9,081.011,854.87,837.07,925.31,817.0−9,499.0−16,764.9−24,869.2
Suppliers984.5−478 4−596.6−262.21,542.637.0−985.1−3,077.3
Financial Markets8,096.512,333.28,433.68,187.6274.4−9,536.0−15,779.8−21,791.9
Total Debt Service (TDS)14,592.355,681.465,788.672,329.371,670.476,961.988,995.695,840.5
Official Creditors5,262.413,550.515,509.317,794.619,957.221,439.425,689.232,724.6
Private Creditors9,329.942,131.050,279.354,534.751,713.155,522.563,306.463,115.9
Financial Markets6,206.235,812.743,604.247,707.245,175.448,866.256,333.355,184.7
All Creditors
Interest (%)
Maturity (years)16.515.814.214.113.915.515.916.4
Grace Period (years)
Grant Element (%)19.88.9−
Official Creditors
Interest (%)
Maturity (years)25.223.521.122.021.722.623.121.3
Grace Period (years)
Grant Element (%)35.232.524.820.120.022.425.924.9
Private Creditors
Interest (%)8.612.314.112.310.510.99.07.5
Maturity (years)
Grace Period (years)
Grant Element(%)5.3−11.1−18.2−10.0−2.5−
Concessional/Public DOD(%)41.927.826.725.422.920.520.821.9
Variable Rate/Public DOD (%)19.534.737.939.344.244.443.346.5
Source: World Debt Tables.
PROJECTED PUBLIC DEBT SERVICE2130,334.7134,583.5130,974.5127,783.0116,762.5102,284.287,614.072,451.6
Official Creditor43,021.745,466.847,369.651,055.749,129.847,599.842,985.139,706.1
Private Creditors87,313.089,116.683,604.976,727.367,632.754,684.444,628.932,745.4
Source: World Debt Tables.
Use of IMF Credit4,868.19,446.614,844.920,208.130,429.333,402.537,599.440,215.9
Gross National Product (GNP)1,037,572.72,046,732.22,157,983.52,087,525.82,008,795.62,035,568.52,036,172.12,130,885.2
Exports of Goods & Services (XGS)171,757.4447,196.2470,415.2440,839.8434,393.9471,571.6463,018.3450,235.7
Imports of Goods & Services (MGS)224,343.4550,108.2602,047.9569,760.4521,815.8533,843.9540,613.1529,215.0
International Reserves (RES)63,065.9185,574.9152,422.5146,952.6143,128.8149,556.6157,531.2145,318.5
Total External Debt
EDT/XGS(%). .129.6142.9169.0186.0185.9205.0226.8
EDT/GNP (%). .28.331.135.740.243.146.647.5
RES/EDT (%). .32.022.719.717.717.116.614.2
RES/MGS (months)
Public and Publicly Guaranteed Debt
DOD/XGS (%)73.580.385.6103.1121.6127.9147.4173.3
DOD/GNP (%)12.217.518.721.826.329.633.536.6
TDS/XGS (%)8.512.514.016.416.516.319.221.3
RES/DOD (%)50.051.737.932.327.124.823.118.6
Source: World Debt Tables.
Source: World Debt Tables.


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