Emerging market debt has hit a record high of over $100tn, a third higher than pre-pandemic levels, as concerns mount about financial leverage in a world of higher interest rates.

Global debt rose by $8.3tn in the first three months of the year to $306.3tn, the highest level since the first quarter of last year and second-highest quarterly reading ever, according to the Institute of International Finance, in its quarterly global debt monitor.

Global debt is now $45tn higher than its pre-pandemic level and is “expected to continue increasing rapidly,” said the IIF, owing to ageing populations, rising healthcare costs, higher national spending on defence and substantial climate finance gaps.

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