The U.S. should keep its debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) in mind before things “get out of hand,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland President Loretta Mester said Monday.
Asked by CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche if she was worried about the outlook for rising U.S. debt, Mester was measured but encouraged monitoring the debt level, which is at a historic high.
“I think we have to be taking into account the health of US economy, in terms of are we on a sustained fiscal path?” Mester replied. “And I do think that’s something we should be thinking of now as we go forward, and not waiting till things get too far out ofhand. .”
Current debt-to-GDP is 75 percent, but is expected to double by 2047, pushed upward by a raft of recent government spending and stimulus programs.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. is the only advanced economy where debt-to-GDP is scheduled to increase in the next five years.
Global debt is at its highest level in history, with advanced economy debt far surpassing that of emerging market countries. Total debt levels globally came in at a record $164 trillion in 2016, amounting to 225 percent of the world economy’s gross domestic product, according to the IMF’s April Fiscal Monitor.
Average debt for advanced economies stood at 105 percent of GDP, while that for middle and low-income countries averaged between 40 and 50 percent.
— CNBC’s Cheang Ming contributed to this report.