The world is $152tn in the red — a record-breaking level of debt, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The figure, more than two times the size of the global economy, comes from the fund’s latest Fiscal Monitor and is, officials claim, the most accurate measure of the world’s debt burden ever calculated.

“Global debt is at record highs and rising,” said Vitor Gaspar, director of fiscal affairs at the fund.

The figures highlight the apparent paradox between ultra-low interest rates imposed by many central banks in an attempt to encourage borrowing and boost sluggish economies, and the dangers that arise from excessive debt levels.

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