US deficit 'accident waiting to happen,' says IIF head

The rise in US public debt is a serious threat to the whole world if Washington fails to rein it in, the head of the Institute of International Finance warned Saturday.

"You look at the US budget deficit, and you cannot help but feel that this is a serious accident waiting to happen. And not just a serious US accident, but a serious global accident," IIF chief Charles Dallara told a conference on the sidelines of a G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers.

"Countries that are occasionally immature in their ability to manage their economic affairs as well as they should -- and that includes most of them -- are going to find that the world is at risk," Dallara said.

"These countries are going to wait for the marketplace to give them a shower of cold water. And we know that when that happens... it can give a shower of cold water to the global economy."

The non-partisan US Congressional Budget Office estimates that President Barack Obama will finish his first mandate with four consecutive fiscal years showing a deficit above $1 trillion.

Earlier this month an administration official said Obama's budget for the current fiscal year projects a $1.3 trillion deficit, slightly higher than the $1.296 trillion in 2011.

According to estimates from the International Monetary Fund, the US national debt surpassed the country's Gross Domestic Product in 2011 and should rise to more than 107 percent of GDP this year.

But US debt remains attractive to international investors, allowing Washington to borrow at extremely low rates.

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