A Framework to Assess Debt Sustainability and Fiscal Risks Under the Belt and Road Initiative
58 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019
Date Written: June 17, 2019
This paper provides a framework to assess the impact of infrastructure investment expected under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) on the debt vulnerabilities of countries that are located on BRI transport and connectivity corridors in the absence of comprehensive and consistent information on investments and financing terms. Key assumptions relate to the amount of public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt financing and its terms, the size and sectoral type of identified BRI investment, and the expected impact of growth in the medium and long term of that investment. BRI debt financing is expected significantly increase PPG debt in a number of countries. The paper provides estimates for both the medium and the long term. In the medium term, defined as the period 2019-2023, debt financing of BRI investment is expected to be fully disbursed while the full growth impact of BRI related infrastructure is not entirely realized. In this initial phase, around one-third of assessed BRI-recipient countries are estimated to face elevated debt vulnerabilities post- BRI, several of which have already high debt vulnerabilities. The impact of BRI on public debt would improve over the longer term under the assumption of a sustained negative interest rate-growth differential and in the absence of the materialization of BRI related fiscal risks. Still, debt to GDP ratio is expected to remain higher in one-third of countries (11 out of 30 with available data).
Keywords: International Trade and Trade Rules, Public Finance Decentralization and Poverty Reduction, Macro-Fiscal Policy, Public Sector Economics, Economic Adjustment and Lending, Transport Services, Energy Policies & Economics, Economic Growth, Industrial Economics, Economic Theory & Research
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