Contrary to the traditional assumption of interest rates on government debt exceeding economic growth, negative interest-growth differentials have become prevalent since the global financial crisis. As these differentials are a key determinant of public debt dynamics, can we sleep more soundly, despite high government debts? Our paper undertakes an empirical analysis of interestgrowth differentials, using the largest historical database on average effective government borrowing costs for 55 countries over up to 200 years. We document that negative differentials have occurred more often than not, in both advanced and emerging economies, and have often persisted for long historical stretches. Moreover, differentials are no higher prior to sovereign defaults than in normal times. Marginal (rather than average) government borrowing costs often rise abruptly and sharply, but just prior to default. Based on these results, our answer is: not really.
As a follow-up to the Executive Board's May 2013 discussion, this paper considers a possible direction for reform of the Fund's lending framework in the context of sovereign debt vulnerabilities. The primary focus of this paper relates to the Fund's exceptional access framework, since it is in this context that the Fund will most likely have to make the difficult judgment as to whether the member's problems can be resolved with or without a debt restructuring. The objective of the preliminary approaches set forth in this paper is to reduce the costs of crisis resolution for both creditors and debtors—relative to the alternatives—thereby benefitting the overall system. These ideas are market-based and their eventual implementation would require meaningful consultation with creditors.
This paper looks at some technical issues when using CDS data, and if these are incorporated, the analysis or regression results are likely to benefit. The paper endorses the use of stochastic recovery in CDS models when estimating probability of default (PD) and suggests that stochastic recovery may be a better harbinger of distress signals than fixed recovery. Similarly, PDs derived from CDS data are risk-neutral and may need to be adjusted when extrapolating to real world balance sheet and empirical data (e.g. estimating banks losses, etc). Another technical issue pertains to regressions trying to explain CDS spreads of sovereigns in peripheral Europe - the model specification should be cognizant of the under-collateralization aspects in the overall OTC derivatives market. One of the biggest drivers of CDS spreads in the region has been the CVA teams of the large banks that hedge their exposure stemming from derivative receivables due to non-posting of collateral by many sovereigns (and related entities).
This paper examines the monetary and exchange rate policies of the euro area and the trade policies of the European Union. The paper highlights that the overall economic performance of the euro area has been disappointing: growth has been weaker and inflation higher than generally expected. To a large extent, this is the result of a series of unanticipated shocks—oil prices and animal diseases earlier, and the global slowdown and the associated financial market turmoil more recently. However, the performance also appears to reflect a greater-than-anticipated vulnerability to shocks.
Central banks and other public financial institutions act as agents of fiscal policy in many countries. Their "quasi-fiscal" operations and activities can affect the overall public sector balance without affecting the budget deficit as conventionally measured, may also have important allocative effects, and increase the effective size of the public sector. This paper analyzes the macroeconomic and financial effects of such quasi-fiscal activities, as well as the taxes, subsidies, and other expenditures that such activities introduce outside the budget. Measurement and accounting issues are addressed, and policy recommendations are offered.