GOVERNMENTS of the world’s top economies face $7.6 trillion (£4.9 trillion) of debts maturing in 2012, after a year in which weak countries saw borrowing costs soar.
Japan tops the list, with $3 trillion of repayments, while the US follows with $2.8 trillion.
However, it is Italy that economists fear may fail to pay.
“Investor appetite for German, US and Japanese debt is very pronounced – they will have no trouble,” said Holger Schmieding of Berenberg Bank. “The crucial test for Italy comes with major refinancing in February. Only IMF or ECB help will persuade investors to buy its bonds.”