Germany’s gross external debt stood at €5.4 trillion as at the end of June 2020 and is rising. Likewise, as a percentage of gross domestic product, it increased.
Gross external debt constitutes only those financial assets and liabilities held by residents vis-à-vis non-residents with fixed interest and/or principal payment dates. It includes, inter alia, debt securities and loans. By contrast, financial instruments with no repayment obligation, such as shares or foreign direct investment, are excluded. External debt is therefore a subdivision of the liabilities included in the international investment position (i.i.p.); accordingly, stocks are marked to market and valued at the applicable exchange rates as at the respective reporting date.
Focusing on external debt with fixed payment obligations makes it possible to gain an insight into the liquidity or solvency risk to which a country may be exposed. Pursuant to its Special Data Dissemination Standard Plus (SDDS Plus), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requires that adherents disseminate a standardised data template on gross external debt.