Out of the red: What would it take for countries to pay off their national debt?


10th Jul 2019 Technology

In 2019, the national debt figures for the worlds leading economies are often so enormous they’re almost impossible to understand in terms of their size. To put everything into perspective CompareTheMarket.com researched how these debt figures compare to real world assets in the 5 most indebted countries, including their most valuable companies, their foreign currency reserves and most valuable soccer players.

Their findings of the Out of The Red study conducted by Compare The Market revealed that the USA has a national debt of around 22 trillion dollars, to put that into perspective, the richest person on Earth, Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $131 billion, meaning that in order to pay of the USA’s debt, it would take 169 people with a wealth equal to Bezos to donate their entire fortunes.

What countries have the highest amount of national debt?

#1 USA

Starting off the list is the United States of America, with a whopping national debt standing at around $22,115,526,000,000 ($22.1 trillion), which is an unthinkably large amount of money and larger than the combined debt of all other countries on the top 5 list. 

Comparatively though compared to the other countries they lead the way with the most valuable company: Apple, with a market value of $926,900,000,000 ($926.9 billion), meaning that Apple would only need to be sold 24 times over, to clear the US national debt.

Although they lead the way with the most expensive company in Apple, they fall behind in the value of their Gold reserves ($11 billion), most valuable soccer player (Christian Pulisic - $70.2 million) and the value of their foreign currency reserves ($41.8 billion). So amongst the top 5 indebted countries they have the least amount of gold reserves, the least valuable soccer star and 4thmost valuable reserve of foreign currency.


#2 United Kingdom

In second place on the list of biggest national debt, we have the United Kingdom, with an overall national debt of $8,652,300,000,000 ($$8.7 trillion), however compared to their debt they have a large asset base, with the 3rdmost valuable company on the list HSBC with a value of $200,300,000,000 ($200.3 billion), meaning HSBC would need to be resold 43 times to pay off the UK’s national debt.

When it comes to their other assets, the UK fares well, having the 2ndmost expensive soccer player Harry Kane amoung the top 5, who has an estimated value of $175,500,000 ($175.5 million) as one of the most football obsessed nations on Earth, it’s not surprise they have one of the most valuable footballers. Even so, the UK would still need to sell Kane almost 50,000 times to cover the national debt.

For the UK’s other assets are equally impressive, having a gold reserve of $14,255,583,701 ($14.3 billion) and the highest reserve of foreign currency with a whopping value of $178,043,000,000 ($178 billion) which despite it’s impressive value would only cover 2.06% of the UK’s national debt.


#3 Netherlands

With the 3rdlargest national debt, Netherlands owes around $4,586,963,000,000 ($4.6 trillion) which comes in at around half of the UK’s national debt. The Netherland’s business assets shine as one of the most impressive of the list, with Royal Dutch Shell being the 2ndmost valuable business on the list with a market value of $306,500,000,000 ($306.5 billion) and would only need to be sold 15 times over to eradicate the Netherlands national debt.

In the soccer star department, the Netherlands are again impressive, their most valuable footballer is the current Premier League player of the year and favourite to win the Ballon d’Or Virgil Van Dijk, who is valued at an impressive $87,750,000 ($87.8 million) Still the Netherlands would need to sell 52,273 Van Dijks to cover their debt.

Gold is another area that the Netherlands shine in, sitting on an impressive $28,111,478,149 ($28.1 billion) in gold, having nearly twice as much gold as the UK. Unfortunately, they would still need to sell 163 times more gold than they have to pay off all the national debt.

Foreign currency isn’t the strongest asset belonging to the Netherlands, but they still have around $13,063,000,000 ($13 billion) in foreign currency reserves, meaning it’d need to be sold off 351 times before clearing the debt.


Rounding Out The Top 5 Countries With The Most Debt

Taking the 4th& 5thspots on the list are Italy & France with a nearly equal national debt of $2,642,949,350,000 ($2.6 trillion) & $2,602,930,000,000 ($2.6 trillion) respectively.

When it comes to their assets France have a far superior asset base compared to Italy, France’s largest company Total is worth $168 billion, compared to Italy’s ENL with a market value of $70 billion. France’s most valuable soccer superstar Kylian Mbappe has a value of $234 million, compared to Italy’s Marco Veratti who is valued at $87.8 million.

The only are Italy beats France in terms of their assets is the gold reserves, with Italy having $112.5 billion in gold reserves compared to Frances $111.8 billion.