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Default, Currency Crises, and Sovereign Credit Ratings

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  • Carmen M. Reinhart

Abstract

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining countries' access to international capital markets and the terms of that access. In principle, there is no reason to expect that sovereign credit ratings should systematically predict currency crises. In practice, in emerging market economies there is a strong link between currency crises and default. Hence if credit ratings are forward-looking and currency crises in emerging market economies are linked to defaults, it follows that downgrades in credit ratings should systematically precede currency crises. This article presents results suggesting that sovereign credit ratings systematically fail to predict currency crises but do considerably better in predicting defaults. Downgrades in credit ratings usually follow currency crises, possibly suggesting that currency instability increases the risk of default. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "Default, Currency Crises, and Sovereign Credit Ratings," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(2), pages 151-170, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:16:y:2002:i:2:p:151-170
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    1. Graciela Kaminsky & Saul Lizondo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 1998. "Leading Indicators of Currency Crises," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 1-48, March.
    2. Guillermo A. Calvo & Carmen M. Reinhart, 2000. "Fixing for Your Life," NBER Working Papers 8006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Sovereign risk assessment and agency credit ratings," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 2(2), pages 247-256, July.
    4. Morris Goldstein & Graciela Kaminsky & Carmen Reinhart, 2017. "Methodology and Empirical Results," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: TRADE CURRENCIES AND FINANCE, chapter 11, pages 397-436, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    6. Guillermo Larraín & Helmut Reisen & Julia von Maltzan, 1997. "Emerging Market Risk and Sovereign Credit Ratings," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 124, OECD Publishing.
    7. Lee, Suk Hun, 1993. "Are the credit ratings assigned by bankers based on the willingness of LDC borrowers to repay?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 349-359, April.
    8. Carmen M. Reinhart & Graciela L. Kaminsky, 1999. "The Twin Crises: The Causes of Banking and Balance-of-Payments Problems," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 473-500, June.
    9. Reinhart, Carmen & Goldstein, Morris & Kaminsky, Graciela, 2000. "Assessing financial vulnerability, an early warning system for emerging markets: Introduction," MPRA Paper 13629, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Goldfajn, Ilan & Valdes, Rodrigo O., 1998. "Are currency crises predictable?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 873-885, May.
    11. Carmen M. Reinhart, 2002. "An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(2), pages 149-150, August.
    12. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1996. "Determinants and impact of sovereign credit ratings," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 2(Oct), pages 37-53.
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    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange

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