Sovereign Debt in the EU• Early 2000s: interest rate convergence among euro-zone nations. • Virtuous circle for sovereign borrowers.• Default risk assumed to be non-existent, even among highly-indebted EU nations. • “No bailout” clause of Maastricht Treaty lacked credibility. • Little market response to violations of the Stability and Growth Pact.• Governments were able to suggest rules for investors. • E.g. 3 percent fiscal deficit rule.
25 Interest Rates on Benchmark Government Bonds Australia Austria Belgium Canada20 Czech Republic Denmark Finland France Germany15 Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland10 Italy Japan Korea Netherlands New Zealand 5 Norway Portugal Slovak Republic Spain Sweden 0 United Kingdom 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Government Bond Rates, 2005-2011181614 Austria Belgium12 France Germany10 Greece Ireland 8 Italy Netherlands 6 Portugal Spain 4 United Kingdom United States 2 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
• With the crisis, a renewed attention to 4.5 default risk, and to 4 differences across 3.5 countries. 3 2.5 • Reward for EMU 2 disappears, or at 1.5 least is reduced. 1 0.5 • Chart: variance in 0 government bond 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 rates among OECD nations.
What should we learn from theEU’s debt crisis?(1) The return of default risk among developed nations?(2) All government debt is not created equal, or managed equally. • Affects sensitivity of governments to financial market pressures.
Debt Management• When debt matures • Tradeoff between cost and rollover risk • 2010: Ireland 5.9 years vs. UK 14.1 years
United States United Kingdom SpainAverage Time to Maturity of Government Debt, 2010 New Zealand Netherlands Italy Ireland Hungary Germany France Finland Estonia Denmark Canada Austria Australia 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0
Average Time to Maturity of Marketable Government Debt, OECD Countries87654 25th pctile 50th pctile3 75th pctile210 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010
OECD governments will need to refinance about 30% of their long term debt in the next 3 years.Source: OECD SovereignBorrowing Outlook, No.4, 2012
Source: OECD Sovereign Borrowing Outlook, 2012
Debt Management• When debt matures • Tradeoff between cost and rollover risk • 2010: Ireland 5.9 years vs. UK 14.1 years• Who holds debt • Private vs. official creditors (e.g. central banks) • Resident vs. non-resident investors • 2010: 94% non-resident Greece vs. 56% Italy
United States United KingdomPercentage of Marketable Debt Held by Non-Residents, 2009 Turkey Sweden Spain Slovenia Slovak Republic New Zealand Mexico Italy Hungary Finland Estonia Denmark Czech Republic Canada Austria Country 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Debt Management• When debt matures • Tradeoff between cost and rollover risk • 2010: Ireland 5.9 years vs. UK 14.1 years• Who holds debt • Private vs. official creditors (e.g. central banks) • Resident vs. non-resident investors • 2010: 94% non-resident Greece vs. 56% Italy• In which currencies debt is denominated • “Original sin” (Eichengreen and Hausman) • Risk to investors vs. risk to governments • Domestic vs. foreign currency debt
Debt Management Outcomes• To what extent do these outcomes reflect strategic choices by governments, versus willingness of investors to lend? • Debt management outcomes as dependent variable• What are the implications of debt management outcomes for responses to crises and, more broadly, for government policymaking autonomy? • Debt management outcomes as independent variable.
Governing Debt• Establishment of separate DMOs in many OECD nations in the 1980s and early 1990s. • Variation in location (MoF, CB) • Variation in autonomy and mandates• In emerging markets, greater attention in 2000s. • Concerns about short term debt and foreign currency denominated debt. • Efforts to move from floating to fixed rate debt, and from foreign- to domestic-issued debt. • Facilitated by global market liquidity in mid-2000s. • Attempts by IGOs to diffuse “best practices” for DMOs• Main tradeoff: costs vs. risks • Shorter maturity & foreign currency • Longer maturity & domestic currency
Dependent Variable:Time to Maturity of Public Debt• Cross-sectional time series analyses • Independent variables: moving average over last three years (alternative: five years). • Lagged dependent variable • 1980-2009, OECD nations • n=~300 (13 to 19 countries)• Significant predictors of average time to maturity: • Inflation (-) • Government budget balance (-), or government debt (-) • Effective number of political parties (-) • Central bank independence (+; less robust)• Not significantly associated with time to maturity: • Left government • Coalition (vs. single party) government • EMU participation • Location of debt management office (separate or not)
What should we learn from theEU’s debt crisis?(1) The return of default risk among developed nations?(2) All government debt is not created equal, or managed equally.(3) Investors’ assessments of sovereign borrowers vary over time and across countries – and not only because of changes in country-specific economic or political fundamentals.
Assessing Sovereign Risk?• When setting risk premiums for sovereign debt, at what do investors look? • If governments are attentive to market pressures, how do these pressures operate?• Investors’ primary concerns are currency, inflation and default risk. • 1990s and 2000s: investors treated developed and emerging market countries differently. • Assumed no default risk among developed nations, so consider only macro-indicators (deficits, inflation) • Worried more about default among developing nations, so looked also at supply side policies, government ideology, elections.
Assessing Sovereign Risk• Developing nations are therefore more constrained by market pressures than developed ones. • Also have greater need to attract foreign capital. • And are more exposed to externally-induced volatility: • Importance of push vs. pull factors to risk premiums. • Commodity exporters • The borrowing strategies pursued by emerging market governments can exacerbate “ability to pay” concerns.• After accounting for policy outcomes, emerging and frontier market countries pay higher risk premiums than developed nation borrowers.
Variation in Market Constraints• The prices governments pay to borrow on international markets vary markedly: • Across countries (sovereign credit ratings, macroeconomic fundamentals) • Over time (liquidity, risk appetite, elections) (Archer et al 2007; Bernhard and Leblang 2006; Cantor and Packer 1996; Hardie 2006; Jensen and Schmith 2005; Mosley 2003; Tomz 2007)• In addition, different types of governments are differently constrained by global capital markets: developed vs. developing commodity vs. manufacturing exporters borrowers from commercial banks vs. bond markets (Campello 2012, Mosley 2003, Kaplan 2012, Wibbels 2006)
Are market constraintsinterdependent?• Does the sovereign risk premium paid by one country systematically shape the way that investors assess sovereign risk in other nations?• If so, how, and through which channels do sovereign risk assessments diffuse?• One principal mechanism: country classifications • Professional investors sort countries into “peer” groups
Are market constraintsinterdependent?• Optimal portfolio diversification dictates that professional investors often manage highly dissimilar assets • sovereign debt, corporate debt, equities, derivatives and cash • and they often invest in a diverse range of locations• They rely on information shortcuts to assess risk (heuristics) • Summary indicators of fiscal and monetary outcomes. • Budget deficit • Debt ratios • Inflation • Also: categories • “developed” vs. “developing” (Mosley 2003) • peripheral Europe: “emerging Europe” in the 1990s “eurozone” in the 2000s “PIIGS” in the 2010s
Sovereign Peer Groupings• Investors may over- or under-estimate sovereign risk based on the category into which the country is grouped: • When investors are more optimistic about a given group of countries, each country in that group will experience an improvement in market access. • When investors are more pessimistic about a category of countries, a borrower within that category may suffer – even if the country’s fundamentals do not warrant such pessimism.• This implies that investors’ responses to domestic policy are neither fixed, nor fully objective.
Interdependent Sovereign Risk• Over the long term, sovereign risk assessments should vary with domestic fundamentals.• In the short term, sovereign risk may correlate across nations due to contagion from crises or changes in global liquidity.• But, even after controlling for these short- and long-term effects, we expect an additional effect of “country category” • Country risk premium will be significantly correlated with the risk premiums paid by other borrowers in the same category. (Hypothesis 1)
Comparing Countries• We also expect that, when investors evaluate individual sovereign borrowers, they do so in relative terms: • The risk premium associated with a given fiscal deficit, for instance, depends on what other countries are doing. • Governments are evaluated relative to what they are expected to do. • Tomz 2007: stalwarts vs. lemons• Here, peer categorizations matter because they define the relevant comparison group. • Sovereign risk premiums are associated, all else equal, with what other borrowers in the same category are doing, in terms of government budgets, and deficits. (Hypothesis 2)
Which Peer Groups Matter?• We examine 3 types of investment categorizations:1. Region: • Asia, Western Europe, post-Communist Europe, Latin America, Non-Latin Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, North America, South Asia, and Africa [World Bank categories]2. Market and Economic Development: a. MSCI: Emerging Markets; Frontier; Developed b. FTSE: Emerging Markets; Frontier; Developed; Advanced Emerging; Secondary Emerging3. Risk Rating: • Fitch Long-Term Sovereign Credit Ratings • (Coded as a 1-12 sovereign risk score)
Data and Method• Dependent variables: • Sovereign spreads (EMBI): monthly and annual data for 26 emerging market economies, 2001-2010. • Credit default swap (CDS) prices, monthly data for 26 developed and developing countries, 2000-2010.• Independent variables: • Domestic economic: government debt, government consumption, budget balance, inflation, capital account openness. • Domestic political: democracy, government ideology, opposition party ideology, electoral cycle, presidential/parliamentary • Global: US interest rate, US treasury bond yields, US stock market returns. • Peer group: average risk premium of those in the same category
Data and Method• We estimate cross-sectional time series models, using an Error Correction Model (ECM). • This allows us to consider both the short-term and long-term effects of the regressors. • Generalized least squares estimator, country fixed effects, linear time trend.• Full results of the estimations are available in the paper (Tables 1 through 5)
Main Findings Blank cells indicate that the effect of peer category risk premium is not statistically significant, controlling for all other independent variables.
Main Findings• In terms of relative assessments (Hypothesis 2): • The level of government debt in (regional) peer countries is negatively and significantly associated with spreads. • A country’s own debt level is, as we would expect, positively and significantly associated with spreads. • Categorization may provide governments with an opportunity to outperform their peers, for which they are rewarded. • If we take sovereign ratings as the dependent variable, • When one’s rating category peers have better fiscal outcomes, one’s rating is higher, all else equal. • Again, a country’s own fiscal balance also is positively and significantly associated with one’s sovereign rating.
Caveats and Conclusion• Annual data obscures what are often shorter-term movements in sovereign debt markets. • Models suggest that almost all of the disturbances to equilibrium in risk premiums are corrected within one year. • Most of the political variables included in our models, however, are measured on an annual basis. • Sample: a limited set of countries (e.g. those for which there is a CDS market or which are included in EMBI+)• More generally, aggregate-level observational data may not be the best way to assess our proposed causal mechanisms. • Future work: survey experiment design.• Our findings suggest, however, that the ways in which countries are grouped – and changes in those groupings – may be important determinants of governments’ capacity to access bond markets.