Everybody knows that since the financial crash of 2008, the global economy has been fluctuating ever since.
Most of the countries in the western world have record levels of debt. The USA alone has a national debt in the hundreds of trillions.
Many people often wonder what countries have the lowest debts or even no debt at all! Well, there are a few with almost no debt at all.
1. Hong Kong
The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong is the country with the lowest debt level in the world. Some sources claim that Hong Kong is completely debt-free, while other sources claim that it has a debt of around 0.1%-0.2%. No other country even comes close to this.
The reason for this minuscule debt is because Hong Kong is a lucrative financial hub for the whole world. Hong Kong has a heavily regulated banking sector, large reserves of foreign exchange currency, and efficient education and taxation systems.
For such a small administrative region, it brings in such a huge amount of money from all the big banks located within it, which ensures that Hong Kong has plenty of surplus cash to spend on public projects.
As mentioned earlier, Brunei’s debt is around 3.1%. Although this isn’t as low as Hong Kong, it is still a substantially small debt considering how much Brunei spends on its public welfare programs.
The country’s large gas and oil reserves mean that these products can be exported for high prices to wealthy nations in the West such as countries in the EU and the USA.
The reason Brunei has debt at all is that it has universal healthcare for all citizens, paid for by the state, as well as subsidies on food and housing for the people.
It is quite impressive that the country’s debt is so low, considering the amount of money that goes into their state-sponsored welfare programs.
Estonia’s debt levels come in at 9.5%, a much higher rate than Brunei and Hong Kong but still incredibly low for a European country.
The reason for this low level of debt is due to the free-market, liberal policies Estonia pursued following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Its neighboring nations, Latvia and Lithuania, didn’t go down this path and instead went ahead with Cold War economic policies.
Estonia pursues aggressive free trade, has a flat income tax rate, and a carefully balanced public spending plan.
4. Saudi Arabia
Everybody knows Saudi Arabia is a nation full of oil that can be exported for high prices. Due to this, Saudi Arabia’s debt sits at around 12.4%, still low by Middle Eastern and Western standards.
The Saudi Empire debt can be highly volatile due to the fact their economy relies almost solely on oil exports. So, when oil prices fall, Saudi Arabia often has to borrow money to fill the void of lost cash.
Many people think of small African nations and associate them with less than satisfactory living conditions. However, Botswana is not like this at all. Botswana’s debt is 13.9%, almost unheard of for an African nation.
Even during the peak of the global economic crash in 2008, Botswana ended up borrowing very little money and continued a trend of healthy economic growth.
Obviously, this amount of debt is still much higher than that of countries mentioned lower on this list but is still impressive nonetheless if you consider the context around this issue.
Russia had done surprisingly well for itself ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s debt to GDP ratio is incredibly healthy at 17% for a country of its size.
This is thanks to Russia having the world’s largest natural gas reserves which are incredibly lucrative exports due to the reliance of this natural gas in power plants all over Europe and beyond.
Kuwait’s economy is very similar to Saudi Arabia. Despite this Kuwait’s debt is higher coming in at 18.6%. Kuwait is much smaller than Saudi Arabia and therefore has smaller oil reserves.
Kuwait suffers from the same problems as Saudi Arabia when it comes to volatile oil prices which then drives borrowing up. Kuwait does have a large sovereign wealth fund but doesn’t like to use it unless necessary.
Due to this, since 2016, Kuwait has increased its domestic debt to £8.9 billion and its foreign debt to £5.9 Billion. Despite this increase in debt, Kuwait is still financially stable and on track to remain a healthy Middle Eastern economy.