By Dion Rabouin
(Reuters) - Global debt levels rose to more than 325 percent of the world's gross domestic product last year as government debt rose sharply, a report from the Institute for International Finance showed on Wednesday.
The IIF's report found that global debt had risen more than $11 trillion in the first nine months of 2016 to more than $217 trillion. The report also found that general government debt accounted for nearly half of the total increase.
Emerging market debt rose substantially, as government bond and syndicated loan issuance in 2016 grew to almost three times its 2015 level. China accounted for the lion's share of the new debt, providing $710 million of the total $855 billion in new issuance during the year, the IIF reported.
Higher borrowing costs in the wake of the U.S. presidential election and other stresses, including "an environment of subdued growth and still-weak corporate profitability, a stronger (U.S. dollar), rising sovereign bond yields, higher hedging costs, and deterioration in corporate creditworthiness" presented challenges for borrowers, the IIF said in its report.
Additionally, "a shift toward more protectionist policies could also weigh on global financial flows, adding to these vulnerabilities," the IIF said. "Moreover, given the importance of the City of London in debt issuance and derivatives (particularly for European and EM firms), ongoing uncertainties surrounding the timing and nature of the Brexit process could pose additional risks including a higher cost of borrowing and higher hedging costs."
(Reporting by Dion Rabouin; Editing by Andrea Ricci)