Definition: Debt relief
Agreements by creditors to lessen the debt burden of debtor countries by either rescheduling interest and principal payments falling due over a specified time period, sometimes on a concessional basis, or by partially or fully cancelling debt service payments falling due during a specified period of time.
(IMF online glossary)
Any form of debt reorganization that relieves the overall burden of debt. Debt relief results where there is a reduction in the present value of these debt-service obligations and/or a deferral of the payments due, thus providing smaller near-term debt-service obligations. This can be measured, in most cases, by an increase in the duration of these obligations; that is, payments become weighted more toward the latter part of the debt instrument’s life. However, if debt reorganization results in changes in present value and duration that are countervailing in their impact on the debt burden, then there is no debt relief, unless the net impact is significant—such as could occur if there was a deep reduction in present value (together with small decrease in duration) or a sharp increase in duration (together with a small increase in present value).
(External debt statistics)
International Monetary Fund (IMF), "Online glossary of selected financial terms" (as per March 15th, 2008), International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C., 2008