The debt of advanced nations will soon top 100% of GDP for the first time since the second world war, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In its latest Fiscal Monitor, the IMF says all advanced economies are due to reduce their deficits this year.
However, the IMF warns this will not prevent their average public debt hitting triple figures as a proportion of GDP.
The IMF is advising countries that are experiencing windfalls from commodity price rises to save the money and guard against fiscal problems in the future.
The fund praises lower income countries for saving enough money to cope with the recent financial crisis.
In general, the IMF says emerging economies are improving their fiscal health faster than indebted developed world nations.