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A Market Perspective on the European Sovereign Debt and Banking Crisis


  • Adrian Blundell-Wignall
  • Patrick Slovik


Europe has been beset by an interrelated banking crisis and sovereign debt crisis. Bond spreads faced by Greece and Ireland, and to a lesser extent Portugal followed by Spain, have increased. This paper explores these issues from the perspective of financial markets, focusing mainly on the four countries in the frontline of these pressures: Greece and Portugal, on the one hand, where the problems are primarily fiscal in nature; and Ireland and Spain, on the other, where banking problems related to the property boom and bust have been the key moving part. The paper first examines the probabilities of default implicit in observable market spreads and considers these calculations against sovereign debt dynamics. It then explores the implications of the interaction between bank losses and fiscal deficits on the one hand, and the feedback that any debt haircuts anticipated by markets could have on bank solvency. The study finds that market-implied sovereign default probabilities do in fact discriminate quite clearly between countries based on five criteria that affect the probability of debt restructuring. The discussion highlights some implications for banking system balance sheets of expected losses and shows the potential impact on them of sovereign restructuring implicit in market analysis. While the paper does not make any recommendations for policy action, it does explore a range of policy options and the implications each might have for the financial markets. JEL Classification: G01, G12, G15, G18, G21, H06, H60, H62, H63, H68 Keywords: financial crisis, sovereign risks, public deficits and debt, bond markets, banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Adrian Blundell-Wignall & Patrick Slovik, 2011. "A Market Perspective on the European Sovereign Debt and Banking Crisis," OECD Journal: Financial Market Trends, OECD Publishing, vol. 2010(2), pages 9-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:dafkad:5kggc0z2hm9r
    DOI: 10.1787/fmt-2010-5kggc0z2hm9r

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    Cited by:

    1. David Bartolini & Agnese Sacchi & Simone Salotti & Raffaella Santolini, 2018. "Fiscal Decentralization in Times of Financial Crises," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 64(3), pages 456-488.
    2. Pešić Ivana V. & Vanka Gajo M., 2014. "EU Crises Multiplier - From One Crisis To Another," Economic Themes, Sciendo, vol. 52(2), pages 215-241, June.
    3. Manasa Gopal & Markus Pasche, 2012. "Market-based Eurobonds Without Cross-Subsidisation," Global Financial Markets Working Paper Series 2012-37, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    4. Basil Dalamagas & Stefanos Tantos, 2017. "Optimal Sovereign Debt for an Overdebted Country," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 95-118, June.
    5. Velimir Lukić, 2016. "Integration of Government Bond Market in the Euro Area and Monetary Policy," Journal of Central Banking Theory and Practice, Central bank of Montenegro, vol. 5(1), pages 71-97.
    6. Basil Dalamagas & Stefanos Tantos, 2016. "Optimal Versus Actual Maturity of Government Debt: The Case of Greece," SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, SPOUDAI Journal of Economics and Business, University of Piraeus, vol. 66(3), pages 25-52, July-Sept.
    7. Ramon Pacheco Pardo, 2014. "EU–China relations in financial governance: cooperation, convergence or competition?," Asia Europe Journal, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 63-77, March.
    8. Ureche-Rangau, Loredana & Burietz, Aurore, 2013. "One crisis, two crises…the subprime crisis and the European sovereign debt problems," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 35-44.
    9. de Araújo, André da Silva & Garcia, Maria Teresa Medeiros, 2013. "Risk contagion in the north-western and southern European stock markets," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-34.
    10. Bastien Drut, 2013. "La répression financière est-elle la solution pour « liquider » la dette publique dans la zone euro ?," Working Papers CEB 13-003, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Baumann, Chris & Hoadley, Susan & Hamin, Hamin & Nugraha, Albert, 2017. "Competitiveness vis-Ã -vis service quality as drivers of customer loyalty mediated by perceptions of regulation and stability in steady and volatile markets," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 62-74.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General
    • H62 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Deficit; Surplus
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H68 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Forecasts of Budgets, Deficits, and Debt


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