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Credit ratings and the pricing of sovereign debt during the euro crisis

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  • Joshua Aizenman
  • Mahir Binici
  • Michael Hutchison

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of credit rating changes on the sovereign spreads in the European Union and investigates the macro and financial factors that account for the time-varying effects of a given credit rating change. We find that changes of ratings are informative, economically important, and highly statistically significant in panel models, even after controlling for a host of domestic and global fundamental factors and investigating various functional forms, time and country groupings, and dynamic structures. Dynamic panel model estimates indicate that a credit rating upgrade decreases credit default swap (CDS) spreads by about 45 basis points, on average, for European Union (EU) countries. However, the association between credit rating changes and spreads shifted markedly between the pre-crisis and crisis periods. European countries had quite similar CDS responses to credit rating changes during the pre-crisis period, but large differences emerged during the crisis period between the now highly sensitive GIIPS group (Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain) and other European country groupings (EU and euro area excluding GIIPS, and the non-EU area). We also find a complicated non-linear pattern dependent on the level of the credit rating. The results are robust to the inclusion of credit ‘outlook’ or ‘watch’ signals by credit rating agencies. In addition, contagion from rating downgrades in GIIPS to other euro countries is not evident once own-country credit rating changes are taken into account. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Aizenman & Mahir Binici & Michael Hutchison, 2013. "Credit ratings and the pricing of sovereign debt during the euro crisis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 582-609, AUTUMN.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:29:y:2013:i:3:p:582-609
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grt036
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    Cited by:

    1. de Haan, Leo & Hessel, Jeroen & van den End, Jan Willem, 2014. "Are European sovereign bonds fairly priced? The role of modelling uncertainty," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 239-267.
    2. José Jorge, 2016. "Sovereign Ratings and Investor Behavior," CEF.UP Working Papers 1601, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    3. Joshua Aizenman & Mahir Binici & Michael M. Hutchison, 2016. "The Transmission of Federal Reserve Tapering News to Emerging Financial Markets," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(2), pages 317-356, June.
    4. Boumparis, Periklis & Milas, Costas & Panagiotidis, Theodore, 2017. "Economic policy uncertainty and sovereign credit rating decisions: Panel quantile evidence for the Eurozone," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 39-71.
    5. Gómez-Puig, Marta & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simón & Ramos-Herrera, María del Carmen, 2014. "An update on EMU sovereign yield spread drivers in times of crisis: A panel data analysis," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 133-153.
    6. repec:pal:compes:v:59:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_s41294-017-0024-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2017. "Self-fulfilling dynamics: The interactions of sovereign spreads, sovereign ratings and bank ratings during the euro financial crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PB), pages 371-385.
    8. Yu, Sherry, 2017. "Sovereign and bank Interdependencies—Evidence from the CDS market," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 39(PA), pages 68-84.
    9. Heather D. Gibson & Stephen G. Hall & George S. Tavlas, 2014. "Doom-loops: The Role of Rating Agencies in the Euro Financial Crisis," Discussion Papers in Economics 14/16, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    10. Huseyin Ozturk & Ersin Namli & Halil Ibrahim Erdal, 2016. "Reducing Overreliance on Sovereign Credit Ratings: Which Model Serves Better?," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 48(1), pages 59-81, June.
    11. Duygun, Meryem & Ozturk, Huseyin & Shaban, Mohamed, 2016. "The role of sovereign credit ratings in fiscal discipline," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 197-216.
    12. Alsakka, Rasha & ap Gwilym, Owain & Vu, Tuyet Nhung, 2014. "The sovereign-bank rating channel and rating agencies' downgrades during the European debt crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(PB), pages 235-257.
    13. Özmen, Erdal & Doğanay Yaşar, Özge, 2016. "Emerging market sovereign bond spreads, credit ratings and global financial crisis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 93-101.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G24 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Investment Banking; Venture Capital; Brokerage
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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