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External liabilities and crises

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  • Catão, Luis A.V.
  • Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria

Abstract

We examine the determinants of external crises, focusing on the role of foreign liabilities and their composition. Using a variety of statistical tools and comprehensive data spanning 1970–2011, we find that the ratio of net foreign liabilities to GDP is a significant crisis predictor. This is primarily due to the net position in debt instruments—the effect of net equity liabilities is weaker and net FDI liabilities seem, if anything, an offset factor. We also find that: i) breaking down net external debt into its gross asset and liability counterparts does not add significant explanatory power to crisis prediction; ii) the current account is a powerful predictor; iii) foreign exchange reserves reduce the likelihood of crisis more than other foreign asset holdings; and iv) a parsimonious probit containing those and a handful of other variables has good predictive performance in- and out-of-sample. The latter result stems largely from our focus on external crises sensu stricto.

Suggested Citation

  • Catão, Luis A.V. & Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria, 2014. "External liabilities and crises," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 18-32.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:94:y:2014:i:1:p:18-32
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2014.05.003
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    Keywords

    International investment positions; Sovereign debt; Currency crises; Current account imbalances; Foreign exchange reserves;

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • F32 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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