Emerging market spreads in the recent financial turmoil
This work examines how much of the variation in emerging market economies' (EMEs) spreads can be ascribed to 'country-specific' factors rather than to 'common' factors, once the existence of an interaction between the state of macroeconomic fundamentals and global financial conditions is properly taken into account. By means of factor analysis we find that a single common factor is able to explain a large part of the covariation in EME spreads in the period January 1998-June 2008; in turn, the common factor can be traced back mainly to financial market volatility. Once we have controlled for a set of idiosyncratic macroeconomic fundamentals, the common factor turns out to be a significant determinant of EME spread variations in the recent period of financial turmoil. Finally, the interaction term between global financial conditions and the state of macroeconomic fundamentals plays a significant role in most of the countries, allowing us to show that, for some less virtuous economies, the negative effects of a worsening of global conditions have been magnified by weakening domestic macroeconomic fundamentals.
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