Definition: Debt default

External debt - IMF

Failure to meet a debt obligation payment, either principal or interest. A payment that is overdue or in arrears is technically "in default", since by virtue of nonpayment the borrower has failed to abide by the terms and conditions of the debt obligation. In practice, the point at which a debt obligation is considered "in default" will vary.
International Monetary Fund (IMF), "External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users; Appendix III. Glossary of External Debt Terms", Washington D.C., 2003

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