STWR - Share The World's Resources

Search Newsletters Webfeeds
  • Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • Increase font size
STWR has launched a new website:

This older website is no longer being updated and is due to be closed down within the next few weeks.

All of STWR’s own content has been transferred to the new website, but most of the third-party content currently on the old site will soon be unavailable.

If you have any questions, contact

Global Financial Crisis

Latest   Overview   Key Facts   More Info   News Alerts
Key Facts
Print E-mail

The value of the world's financial assets

In 1980 the world's financial assets, comprising banking assets, stock market capitalization and bond market value, amounted to 108% of the value of annual production, more or less in line with each other. 25 years later the total value of global financial assets amounted to $165 trillion, nearly four times the size of global GDP of $45 trillion.[i]

In 1980 bank deposits made up 42%of all financial securities. By 2005, this had fallen to 27%, the remaining deposits were being used by capital markets and investment banks to fuel corporate development.[ii]

Foreign Exchange Trading

In the year to April 06, overall turnover on the foreign exchange markets averaged around $2.9 trillion a day. That's around 60 times the value of the world's GDP for the whole year, and more than 10 times the size of the combined daily turnover on all the world's equity markets. [iii]

Foreign exchange trading increased by 38% between April 2005 and April 2006, and has more than doubled since 2001.[iv]

Debt in the US

Outstanding consumer credit, including mortgage and other debt, reached $9.3 trillion in April 2003, representing an increase from $7 trillion in January 2000. The total credit card debt alone stands at $735 billion, with the household card debt of those who carry balances estimated to average $12,000.[v]

The US, being the consumer of last resort, also has the largest Gross National Debt in the world. In December 07, it stood at over $9.153 trillion, amounting to over $30,000 per person. This has been increasing on average $1.45 billion per day since September 29, 2006.[vi]

The biggest chunk is held by foreign governments. Japan tops the list (with $644 billion), followed by China ($350 billion), United Kingdom ($239 billion) and oil exporting countries ($100 billion).[vii]

In the US, the poorest 90 % of the population have debts equal to 75% of their financial assets, while for the richest 10 %, debts amount to only 7 % of their assets.[viii]

Debt in The UK

In June 2007, the UK as a whole owed more to the banks (£1,345 billion) than the value of everything produced by every office and factory in the country in a year (£1,330 billion).[ix]

[i] Gerry Gold & Paul Feldman.  A House of Cards, Lupus Books (2007). p.36

[ii] Ibid, p.36

[iii] Ibid, p.38

[iv] Ibid, p.38

[v] Joanne Laurier. US consumer debt reaches record levels (World Socialist Website, 15 January 2004)

[vi] U.S. National Debt Clock (figures sourced from U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Bureau of the Census' Population Clock) accessed April 2008 <>

[vii] John W. Schoen. Just who owns the U.S. national debt? And is growing foreign investment in the U.S. bad for America? (MSNBC, 4 March 2007).  See also figures at Major Foreign Holders Of Treasury Securities (U.S. Department of the Treasury) accessed April 2008 <>

[viii] Ann Pettifor. Real World Economic Outlook (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) p. 34.

[ix] Gerry Gold & Paul Feldman.  A House of Cards, Lupus Books (2007). p.42