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The debt service ratio is the ratio of debt service payments made by or due from a country to that country’s export earnings.

The ratio of debt service (interest and principal payments due) during a year, expressed as a percentage of exports (typically of goods and services) for that year. Forward-looking debt-service ratios require some forecast of export earnings.

This ratio is considered to be a key indicator of a country’s debt burden. (IMF, 2003, External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users – Appendix III, Glossary, IMF, Washington DC. Available from

Source Publication:
External Debt: Definition, Statistical Coverage and Methodology, A Report by an International Working Group on External Debt Statistics of the World Bank, IMF, BIS, OECD, OECD, Paris, 1988, Glossary.

Statistical Theme: Financial statistics - External debt

Created on Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Last updated on Wednesday, April 7, 2004