Update: scroll down to see a nice graph

Welcome to 2012, and a planet-load of debt! From Bloomberg, via Mish:

Governments of the world’s leading economies have more than $7.6 trillion of debt maturing this year, with most facing a rise in borrowing costs.Led by Japan’s $3 trillion and the U.S.’s $2.8 trillion, the amount coming due for the Group of Seven nations and Brazil, Russia, India and China is up from $7.4 trillion at this time last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The amount needing to be refinanced rises to more than $8 trillion when interest payments are included.

Country 2012 Bond, Bill Redemptions ($) Coupon Payments
Japan 3000 billion 117 billion
U.S. 2783 billion 212 billion
Italy 428 billion 72 billion
France 367 billion 54 billion
Germany 285 billion 45 billion
Canada 221 billion 14 billion
Brazil 169 billion 31 billion
U.K. 165 billion 67 billion

Japan’s Problem

Remarkably, rolling over US debt is unlikely to be a problem. The same cannot be said for Japan. Because of demographics, pension plans will be net sellers of Japanese bonds. Unless balance of trade or tax revenues increase enough in 2012 Japan will not be able to roll this debt over at 1%. A rise to 3% would consume nearly all of Japanese revenues.

But don’t worry, everyone, coz, a) Japanese debt is all held by Japanese, so only Japanese tax-payers will get screwed!
and b) Japan will raise VAT to a frigging awesome 8%!!!

Ha! Mission accomplished!

PS I’m posting this from Scribefire, a Firefox blogging plugin I haven’t used for a year at least, because WordPress’s “Press This” tool isn’t working for some reason.

Japan debt since the bubble burst, from seetell.jp

Japan debt since the bubble burst, from seetell.jp (http://bit.ly/zTitwT)