Press Release

New Index Spotlights Most Vulnerable Emerging Markets

November 08, 2023

Jeremy Gaines
[email protected]

WASHINGTON – Sri Lanka, Argentina, Tunisia and Pakistan top the list of the emerging markets most vulnerable to a sharp deterioration in global financial conditions, according to a new index published today by the Center for Global Development.

The Resilience Indicator ranks a range of emerging markets and developing economies using data from the IMF, World Bank, national statistics agencies, and other public sources. The Indicator uses external debt ratios, international reserves, deviations from announced inflation targets, and similar metrics, along with measures of institutional governance quality.

The latest report from the Indicator uses just-published data to assess the macroeconomic resilience of 37 emerging markets today and compared to their position in 2019, the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent global shocks.

“The countries at the bottom of the Resilience Indicator in 2019 all defaulted or were close to it. And today, emerging markets are more vulnerable as a group than they were then. We need to pay attention to the warning signs that are in front of us right now, and it’s critical we know what countries are most vulnerable,” said Liliana Rojas-Suarez, the director of the Latin America Initiative at CGD and the creator of the Resilience Indicator.

Some of the changes in the latest edition of the Resilience Indicator include:

  • Sri Lanka, Argentina, Tunisia, and Pakistan did not budge from the bottom ranking they held in 2019, due to continued unsustainable debt levels.
  • China is one of the most weakened countries, falling out of the top ten all the way to 18th in 2023 thanks to mounting public debt.
  • Colombia also slipped 7 places to 23rd, after a sharp increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio and persistently high inflation.
  • Indonesia, Peru, Bulgaria, and Thailand have all held steady near the top of the index since 2019.
  • Angola stands out as one of the most improved nations, from nearly last in 2019 to 18th, after several years of fiscal adjustment.

The full ranking:

Top of the list indicates greatest resilience

Country 2023 ranking Change since 2019
Indonesia 1 +5
Bulgaria 2 0
Peru 3 -2
Kazakhstan 4 +7
Guatemala 5 +2
Chile 6 +3
Thailand 7 -4
Poland 8 -3
Philippines 9 -5
Mexico 10 +3
Paraguay 11 +1
Dominican Republic 12 +2
Albania 13 +6
Malaysia 14 -6
Armenia 15 +5
Costa Rica 16 -1
Georgia 17 +4
China 18 -8
Namibia 19 +6
Algeria 20 +4
Morocco 21 -4
Ecuador 22 +11
Colombia 23 -7
Angola 24 +8
Romania 25 -7
India 26 +0
South Africa 27 -4
Hungary 28 -6
Brazil 29 +1
El Salvador 30 -3
Türkiye 31 -3
Egypt 32 -1
Bolivia 33 -4
Pakistan 34 +2
Tunisia 35 -1
Argentina 36 +1
Sri Lanka 37 -2

“Policymakers need to take a clear-eyed look at how their countries are doing now, rather than waiting to be downgraded by a credit rating agency to act. The Resilience Indicator provides a rapid, straightforward, and open-source way of doing that,” said Rojas-Suarez.

A version of the Resilience Indicator focused on developing economies will be published in December.

The full list of countries and an exploration of their analysis can be found at: