Exploring the relationship between credit spreads and default probabilities
Contrary to theory, recent empirical work suggests that changing default expectations can explain only a fraction of the variability in credit spreads. This paper takes a fresh look at this question, relating credit spreads for a sample of investment-grade bonds issued by UK industrial companies to default probabilities generated by the Bank of England's Merton model of corporate failure. For the highest quality corporate issues, where the probability of default is low, this factor explains relatively little of the variation in credit spreads. For such bonds, common market factors - perhaps related to liquidity conditions - appear to be of greater importance. This is consistent with previous empirical work. For lower-rated investment-grade bonds, however, the probability of default is found to be a more important determinant of credit spreads, explaining around a third of variability in a pooled regression. When coefficients are allowed to vary at the level of the individual issue, explanatory power rises to 50% for this group. This is much higher than previous studies have found, reflecting both the more direct application of the Merton model and the recognition that idiosyncrasies in factors such as liquidity conditions and expected recovery rates are likely to undermine results from pooled estimation.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AH|
Phone: +44 (0)171 601 4030
Fax: +44 (0)171 601 5196
Web page: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Longstaff, Francis A & Schwartz, Eduardo S, 1995. " A Simple Approach to Valuing Risky Fixed and Floating Rate Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(3), pages 789-819, July.
- Merxe Tudela & Garry Young, 2003.
"A Merton-model approach to assessing the default risk of UK public companies,"
Bank of England working papers
194, Bank of England.
- M. Tudela & G. Young, 2005. "A Merton-Model Approach To Assessing The Default Risk Of Uk Public Companies," International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Finance (IJTAF), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 8(06), pages 737-761.
- Tudela, Merxe & Garry Young, 2003. "A Merton Model Approach to Assessing the Default Risk of UK Public Companies," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 207, Royal Economic Society.
- Pierre Collin-Dufresne, 2001. "The Determinants of Credit Spread Changes," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(6), pages 2177-2207, December.
- Merton, Robert C., 1973.
"On the pricing of corporate debt: the risk structure of interest rates,"
684-73., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-70, May.
- Judson, Ruth A. & Owen, Ann L., 1999. "Estimating dynamic panel data models: a guide for macroeconomists," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 9-15, October.
- Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W Marsh, 2004.
"An empirical analysis of the dynamic relationship between investment-grade bonds and credit default swaps,"
Bank of England working papers
211, Bank of England.
- Roberto Blanco & Simon Brennan & Ian W. Marsh, 2004. "An empirical analysis of the dynamic relationship between investment grade bonds and credit default swaps," Working Papers 0401, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
- Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
- Edwin J. Elton, 2001. "Explaining the Rate Spread on Corporate Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 247-277, 02.
- Pesaran, M. H. & Shin, Y. & Smith, R. P., 1997. "Pooled Estimation of Long-run Relationships in Dynamic Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9721, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:225. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Digital Media Team)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.