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How Much Does Greece Owe? 4 Charts That Put Greek Debt in Perspective

how much does Greece oweUpdated July 20, 2015: The Greek government has received a 7.16 billion euro disbursement ($7.8 billion) from the European Union (EU) as a stop-gap until its full three-year bailout has been settled.

Exactly how much does Greece owe?

The country is 323 billion euros in debt ($352.7 billion) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and other creditors – more than 175% of its GDP — for an aid package it received during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.

Nearly half (3.5 billion euros) of Greece's fresh stop-gap loan immediately went to an ECB payment that was due Monday. On top of that, a 2.05 billion euro payment, plus 1.6 billion euros of interest, went to the IMF.

That means Greece is left with about $10 million.

And with that, Greek banks reopened Monday for the first time in three weeks. Citizens are able to withdraw up to 420 euros a day — far more than the 60-euro limit that'd been in place. Additionally, Greeks may now access their safe-deposit boxes.

These four charts help to put the amount of Greek debt into perspective…

How Much Does Greece Owe?

What Greece Owes, Chart No. 1: Debt to GDP Ratio

how much debt does Greece haveDebt-to-GDP ratio measures a country's debt compared to its economic output. In other words, what a country is borrowing divided by what it's bringing in. The higher the ratio, the harder it will be for a country to repay its debts.

A look at debt-to-GDP ratios in other Eurozone countries reveals Greece isn't the only villain of the seven-year-long-and-counting Eurozone crisis.

Greece has a 174.9% debt-to-GDP ratio. Its Eurozone brethren Italy, Portugal, and Ireland come in high as well, at 132.1%, 129%, and 123.3% respectively.

In fact, because of the debt racked up in many Eurozone countries including Greece, the European Central Bank (ECB) implemented quantitative easing (QE) this month.

What Greece Owes, Chart No. 2: Greek Foreign Debt vs. U.S. Foreign Debt

greek debt crisis explainedGreece owes a lot to foreign countries – but not nearly as much as does the U.S.

As of March 6, 2015, U.S. public debt reached $13.08 trillion (74% of fourth-quarter 2014 GDP).

Of that sum, $6.1 trillion (47%) is owned by foreign investors.

China owns the biggest chunk of U.S. foreign debt at $1.3 trillion, followed by Japan at $1.2 trillion. These top two creditors constitute 59% of U.S. foreign debt.

Comparatively, Greece owes $352.7 billion to foreign investors. It owes its top two foreign creditors – the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – roughly $264.5 million (75% of its total debt).

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. pappas | March 26, 2015

    Brzezinski, warns of consequences of the Greek crisis. Franco-German empire playing economic games threating the stability of West and Eurasia:

    Clinton deregulated banks. Now sorry. Lewinsky scandal distracted him. Wasn't thinking. Didn't realize end game. Misery foisted on the innocent. He, of course, unscathed. He didn't lose his savings, house, job, pension, position as a captain of the world, life. His funders gained. But, they could not elect him. The voters that put him on his high horse suffered material, physical and psychological losses.

    Greece's impossible bailout designed by a finance captain brought down by the stranglehold of a third world born chamber maid. President of France is having trousers trouble.

    Debt unsustainable. Greece must reform its bureaucracy. World must stop Franco-German capital blockade against Greece now before it is too late!

  2. Vespa330 | June 2, 2015

    And now for the big elephant in the room. $Trillion or more in derivatives are riding on one outcome.

  3. Richard | July 2, 2015

    We do not truly know the US DR. Because since the 80's the USA was hiding DR. By lending money to others to pay their bills.

    For example if I owe the bank 1 million and I guarantee your loan for 1100000 to pay my bill – you have a loan not me and it dose not register in my dr. Only if you do not pay it's my dr. So as long as I keep signing your loan guarantees I will never register the dr. on my balance sheet.

    Let's look at national issues. The USA has no money and they want the translations off their books- so they give a loan to Trinidad for say 25 billion to expand the economy under the condition they by US goods. It's easy to lend fiat currency Cz it's really cost nothing to make or create.

    The loan is a receivable for the USA and offsets the drop in US exports at the time the loan is given. It generates exports but also enslaved the population that accepts the loan or poison. As in Greece they will never be able to pay their loan so the elected government is accountable to not the electorate but the banks. The IMF is an extension of the privet company known as the US federal reserve that has duped governments to betray the electorate for personal gain in wealth or fame.

    Now – money is not real and based on a persons willingness to accept it!!

    If I could print money and I gave you $1 billion loan then I'm a billionaire Cz my books show you owe me! I made money literally out of thin air!

    So it's all glass and mirrors and will fail very soon maybe this October when we see 3ed quarter company profits. Canada is spending billions to pump up our output in all the infrastructure investment to create the illusion that all is well but after the October election and winter the economy will slide. People are not braking down the numbers they are lazy and look only at the totals and you need to see were that number comes from and is it sustainable?

    With interest rates at a historic low the government has nothing to use but increase money supply and create inflation. Historically when the economy slowed they lower rates to increase spending and consumer borrowing. That's all maxed out now with record consumer dr. And a flat economy going to slide further down this fall when seasonal employment ends. This will push up inflationary pressure as government deals with a slumping economy and dollar. To pull back inflation an encourage foreign investment the Feds will rase interest rates to a Canadian population that is already maxed out at the historic low rates. How will they manage new rates at 15 to 20%.

    Raising rates is inevitable because as the economy south slows natural resources demand drops and so does the Canadian $$$ pushing up inflation. We are in a real mess as I see it.

    The question is how will Italy and Spain survive if Greece dose not pay them back. Both economies are in trouble. Sanctions on Russia is pushing Italy into recession and now this big hit. Spain is even in a worse position and needs financial aid.

    That's why China, Russia and others are spending the US $! Not to be coughs holding the junk!

    This is helping a lot of countries but putting more down pressure on the US$ forcing the USA to randomly give more loans until it all caves in!

    • Sarah | July 3, 2015

      I love your explanation – thank you. How did you get to a point where you understood all this? I have been studying economics lots trying to get an overview that makes sense and you speak far more sense than any other "professional" analysis that I have seen. Instinctively I feel that the situation is really bad for many countries from small snippets of info all over the place but hardly anyone mentions it … Of course talking about confidence helps markets but long term policies seem to be at odds with common sense.
      Is it weakening the dollar to have China spend its reserves? Doesn't this help the US at China's expense (export-wise?). If so you have to wonder why China allowed itself to get into this position in the first place?

  4. Louis A. | July 4, 2015

    Comparing Greece to the US or any other country for that matter does not make mathematical sense unless the comparison is done per capita. There are 11million Greeks and 318million Americans, roughly 30 Americans for every Greek. Re calculating the debt per capita will show you that the Greeks are in a very bad situation….. Try it….

    • Sam S. Ara | July 5, 2015

      Oh, okay, Louis. Everything is fine everywhere except Greece and its immediate debt holders. Bottom line—these shell games have been going on for decades now, and 2006/2008 was just the first audible crack in the dam, so to speak.

  5. John | July 6, 2015

    Tara, VERY interesting graphs. Cuts through all the garbage and spin.

    First, to Louis. Good idea to look at that metric, but your math is off. USA is $50,000 per head and Greece is only $30,000 per person. It would be interesting to see all the countries in that list per capita.

    Now the thing that should scare the bejesus out of Americans is the last graph and the debt held by Japan and our friends the Chinese.

    The situation with the Chinese has been like the guy at the dentist's office and he grabs the dentist by the crotch and say's "We're not gonna hurt each other, are we?" We bought cheap Chinese junk and they, in turn, bought our junk debt. The day the Chinese have a viable middle class and they don't need us anymore, is the day they don't show up for the bond auctions. And, Baby, the day they do that we are toast. I think they did it once a few years ago and the market tanked that day.

    The day Japan can't afford to buy USA debt anymore will be similar.

    • Tara | July 20, 2015

      Thank you for saying, John, and thanks all for reading. We'll be watching as this plays out!

  6. Rob | July 6, 2015

    I've seen little or no information, nor discussion, on how the considerable funds borrowed were used by a country of only 11 million, with little industry and infrastructure spending, that gets 70% of its GDP from tourism? How much was for defence hardware from Germany and France I wonder?

  7. John | July 19, 2015

    We seem to forget to mention the biggest elephant in the room, the massive corruption in Greece is endemic and there is no clear cure for that.
    I mean why did they have Greece in the EU in the 1st place anyway? Greece is a non productive country, at least the other EU countries actually produce and do something other than sit around and smoke cigarettes all day.
    The biggest thing that really Sh@#ts me is knowing ALL this HOW are they just given billions with no real checks and balances, no audits… nothing. It is just ludicrous !

    To protect himself the president avoided major changes and turning the people against him, but finally they will agree to anything NOW…..If history says anything, they will surely fail once again in another 6 months and here all the rest of us are busy working and actually Paying Taxes ( Yes Taxes Greece, its this great new idea where you all pay your small part to have stuff in a community ) And in the Meantime the corrupt fat caviar engorged pigs in Greece get even fatter……. Then FINALLY…..
    shock horror the house of cards come crashing down !!!

    Meanwhile we will all suffer long term for this, just like the rich US banking pigs last time. Not only did they all get away with it… they actually got bailouts !
    Really awesome system we have here, our kids should be proud of us all.
    It seems we're all just to lazy these days to do something about it.

    Wake up and complain people… this is clearly NOT FAIR is it ?

  8. Kyrel Zantonavitch | April 6, 2016

    No bank, credit institution, or rich person should EVER loan to a gov't. This is a profound ethical evil. And it should be a CRIME for gov't to ever even attempt to borrow money. Every time the state tries, the relevant budget, program, or law should be automatically voided. And all gov't officials involved should be executed for treason.

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