Last week, Dubai's announcement that its investment arm, Dubai World, was requesting a six-month "standstill" on its $60 billion debt sent world markets tumbling.
The city-state, one of seven that make up the United Arab Emirates, racked up billions in debt over the last decade under the assumption that it would ultimately be guaranteed by the U.A.E. And indeed, even as Dubai appeared to dissociate itself from the conglomerate this week -- one official said that the state-owned company, which he insisted was "independent," was "not guaranteed by the (Dubai) government" -- the U.A.E indicated that it would assist the city-state by lending to Dubai's banks.
But the U.A.E. isn't the only country swamped in debt. As the New York Times reported today: "Even in rich nations like the United States and Japan, which are increasing government spending to shore up slack economies, mounting budget deficits are raising concern about governments' ability to shoulder their debts, especially once interest rates start to rise again."
To investigate which country could be the next sovereign debt crisis, we took a look at a figure called gross external debt, which is a tabulation of the debt taken out by a country's government, corporations and citizens and held by foreign entities. Using second-quarter data collected by the World Bank, we listed the ten countries with the most total foreign debt.
And while all ten owe vast sums of money to foreign entities, total debt isn't the whole story. Comparing total external debt to GDP is also a useful calculation, as is the amount of public debt a particular country maintains. Still, some names on this list may surprise you. And, all except for one have trimmed their debt from where it stood the year prior.
Check out the list below: