Ten years after the worst financial panic since the 1930s, growing debt burdens in key developing economies are fueling fears of a new crisis that could spread far beyond the disruption sweeping Turkey.
The loss of investor confidence in the Turkish lira, which has surrendered more than 40 percent of its value this year, is only a preview of debt problems that could engulf countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Russia and Indonesia, some economists say.
“Turkey is not the last one,” said Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, an economics professor at the University of Maryland. “Turkey is the beginning.”
For now, few experts think that a broader crisis is imminent, though Argentina this week asked the International Monetary Fund to accelerate a planned $50 billion rescue as the peso crashed to a historic low. But the danger of a financial contagion that could hit Americans by crushing U.S. exports and sending the stock market plunging should be taken more seriously in light of a massive increase in global debt since the 2008 downturn, the economists said.
Total debt is a whopping $169 trillion, up from $97 trillion on the eve of the Great Recession, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
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