Global public debt is estimated to have reached 97.6 percent of the world's gross domestic product at the end of 2020, as countries took aggressive fiscal action to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.

Fiscal support reached nearly $14 trillion, up by about $2.2 trillion since October, the Washington-based institution said in an update of its Fiscal Monitor Report.

Before the pandemic began to accelerate in early 2020, the IMF had projected public debt worldwide would hit 84 percent at the end of the year. The figure is now expected to have further risen to 99.5 percent.

Japan, whose fiscal health is already the worst among major industrialized economies, is expected to have seen its government debt-to-GDP ratio rise to 258.7 percent in 2020, up 24.1 points from a year before. The figure is expected to remain at 258.7 percent in 2021.

The government debt-to-GDP ratio of the United States is projected to have increased 20.5 points to 128.7 percent last year. The ratio grew by 14.1 points to 98.1 percent in the euro area and by 8.7 points to 65.2 percent in China, according to the IMF.