Data Help Desk
Development Data Group
The World Bank
Postal Address:Mailstop MSN MC2-209, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20433 USA
Telephone: +1 202 473 7824
Fax: +1 202 522 3669
Website: http://www.worldbank.org/data and http://www.worldbank.org/hipc
Neil James Fantom
Telephone:+1 202 473 3323
Fax:+1 202 522 3669
Debt service is the sum of principle repayments and interest payments made to non-residents in foreign currency, goods, or services. This series differs from the standard debt to exports ratios. It covers only long-term public and publicly guaranteed debt and repayments (repurchases and charges) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Long-term refers to debt that has an original or extended maturity of more than one year.
IMF repurchases are total repayments of outstanding drawings from the general resources account during the year specified, excluding repayments due in the reserve tranche.
Exports of goods, services and income are the sum of goods (merchandise) exports, exports of (nonfactor) services and income (factor) receipts and do not include workers' remittances.
Debt service is calculated by the World Bank based on the loan-by-loan information reported by the countries to the World Bank’s Debt Reporting System (DRS). Some adjustments are made to debt service based on known HIPC debt relief commitments and other information obtained by World Bank and IMF staff. Exports of goods, services, and income come from the IMF’s Balance of Payments (BOP) database. In some cases the IMF adjusts BOP data reported by countries.
Data received by the World Bank from its members and major multilateral agencies are expressed in the currencies in which the debts are repayable or in which the transactions took place. For aggregation, the Bank converts these amounts to U.S. dollars using the IMF par values or central rates, or the current market rates where appropriate. Service payments, commitments, and disbursements (flows) are converted to U.S. dollars at the average rate for the year.
Where formal registration of foreign borrowing is not mandatory, compilers must rely on balance of payments data and financial surveys. A majority of the countries are fully current in their reporting under the DRS and the reported data give an adequate and fair representation of the countries’ total public debt. In some cases, when debtor reports are not available or incomplete, World Bank staff make estimates based on previously reported data, creditor reports, and other sources. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the debt statistics. Nevertheless, quality and coverage vary among debtors and may also vary for the same debtor from year to year.
National figures on external debt might be different from the global figures published in World Bank’s Global Development Finance due to discrepancies in reported currency and exchange rates used to convert the data to US dollar. Data on long-term debt reported by member countries are checked against, and supplemented by data from several other sources including statements and reports of regional development banks, government lending agencies, and official government websites. In some case adjustments are made to the incomplete reports using secondary sources of information, and the final figures may differ from what the country publishes.
Loan-by-loan information on external debt is reported to the World Bank’s Debt Reporting System by the country authorities (ministry of finance or central bank). All data related to public and publicly guaranteed debt are provided on a loan-by-loan basis by debtors except for lending by some multilateral agencies, in which case data are taken from the creditors’ records. These creditors include the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter- American Development Bank, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Reports contain annual stocks and flows information as well as terms and conditions of individual loans contracted.
Based on this information, country-level debt service data are estimated by the World Bank staff. These initial estimates are subject to internal review, which consists of asking the Bank country offices for verification and cross–checking with other sources including statements and reports of several regional development banks, government lending agencies, and official government websites. Country offices use various sources for the verification including contacting the central banks. Exports of goods, services, and income come from the IMF’s Balance of Payments (BOP) database. BOP data reported by countries are, in some cases, adjusted by the IMF. No comparison has been made between the IMF BOP files and country published data.
As mentioned above, data are converted to U.S. dollars, using the IMF par values or central rates, or the current market rates where appropriate, to enable international comparability. Data are also verified against other sources, and are adjusted, as described above, as needed to ensure completeness and accuracy.
Where information from debtors is not available, data from creditors and data reported by the debtors for prior years are used to estimate external debt statistics. The principal creditor sources are the semiannual series of commercial banks’ claims on developing countries, published by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). For some countries, estimates were prepared by pooling creditor and debtor information.
Data are available for approximately 128 countries. Coverage has been improved through the efforts of the reporting agencies and the work of World Bank missions, which visit member countries to gather data and to provide technical assistance on debt issues.
Estimates of external debt are based on loans reported by countries through the World Bank’s DRS and only available for developing countries that report to the DRS. Coverage has been improved through the efforts of the reporting agencies and the work of World Bank missions, which visit member countries to gather data and to provide technical assistance on debt issues. In this case, the data for the graduated country is removed from the new editions of the GDF and World Development Indicators (WDI) publications and databases. Historical data remains available in previously published editions.
The lag between the reference year and the actual year or production is one to one and a half years. This indicator is computed and published annually.
Aggregation is done using the denominator (exports of goods, services and income) as the weight.
The World Bank publishes data on indicators of debt annually, usually in June, in the GDF publication, CD-ROM, and database.. The GDF Online database is released in April-May of each year, and updated in November to include preliminary estimates of the latest year.