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Does Sovereign Risk in Local and Foreign Currency Differ?

Author

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  • Marlene Amstad

    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen (E-mail: marleneamstad@cuhk.edu.cn))

  • Frank Packer

    (Bank for International Settlements, Hong Kong (E-mail: frank.packer@bis.org))

  • Jimmy Shek

    (Bank for International Settlements, Hong Kong (E-mail: jimmy.shek@bis.org))

Abstract

Historically, sovereign debt in local currency has been considered safer than debt in foreign currency. The literature offers scant theoretical or empirical guidance as to why such a gap has existed or why it appears to have slowly and steadily diminished for all regions over the past two decades, as expressed in the credit ratings widely used by global investors and regulators to assess credit risk. We suggest and empirically test five hypotheses. We find the assessed differences between local and foreign currency credit risk to not be driven by changes in inflation. The banking sector's vulnerability to sovereign debt problems is a significant determinant of the gap, but does not account for the declining spread over time. Instead, the surge in global reserves, and to lesser extent the declining dependence on foreign currency borrowing overseas (decline of original sin), as well as lower global volatility, appear to have diminished the gap. In case of a trend reversal of these variables, there could be a widening of the gap going forward.

Suggested Citation

  • Marlene Amstad & Frank Packer & Jimmy Shek, 2018. "Does Sovereign Risk in Local and Foreign Currency Differ?," IMES Discussion Paper Series 18-E-01, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan.
  • Handle: RePEc:ime:imedps:18-e-01
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    Cited by:

    1. Aizenman, J. & Jinjarak, Y. & Park, D. & Zheng, H., 2021. "Good-bye original sin, hello risk on-off, financial fragility, and crises?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 117(C).
    2. Malin Gardberg, 2022. "Exchange Rate Sensitivity and the Net Foreign Asset Composition," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 54(2-3), pages 569-598, March.
    3. Vojtěch Siuda & Milan Szabo, 2021. "Measuring Sovereign Credit Risk of the EU countries," Journal of Central Banking Theory and Practice, Central bank of Montenegro, vol. 10(3), pages 169-192.
    4. Claudio Borio & Juan Contreras & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2020. "Assessing the fiscal implications of banking crises," BIS Working Papers 893, Bank for International Settlements.
    5. Dimic, Nebojsa & Piljak, Vanja & Swinkels, Laurens & Vulanovic, Milos, 2021. "The structure and degree of dependence in government bond markets," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    6. Hideaki Matsuoka, 2022. "Debt Intolerance: Threshold Level and Composition," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 84(4), pages 894-932, August.
    7. Francesco Manaresi & Nicola Pierri, 2018. "Credit supply and productivity growth," BIS Working Papers 711, Bank for International Settlements.
    8. Angela Ifeanyi Ujunwa & Augustine Ujunwa & Emmanuel Onah & Nnenna Georgina Nwonye & Onyedikachi David Chukwunwike, 2021. "Extending the determinants of currency substitution in Nigeria: Any role for financial innovation?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 89(4), pages 590-607, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sovereign risk; local currency debt; foreign currency debt; credit ratings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F33 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Monetary Arrangements and Institutions
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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