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From Bear Stearns to Anglo Irish; How Eurozone Sovereign Spreads Related to Financial Sector Vulnerability

  • Ashoka Mody

This paper attempts to explain the recent rise and differentiation of sovereign spreads across the countries of the eurozone. Following the onset of the subprime crisis in July 2007, spreads rose but mainly on account of common global factors. The rescue of Bear Stearns in March 2008 marked a turning point. Countries thereafter were increasingly differentiated. Sovereign spreads of a eurozone country tended to rise when the prospects of its domestic financial sector worsened. It appears, therefore, that the rescue of Bear Stearns created a link between financial sector vulnerabilities and a larger contingent liability on public finances. Following the failure of Lehman Brothers, spreads also rose faster for countries with higher ratios of public debt-to-GDP. These transitional dynamics appear to have concluded with the nationalization of Anglo Irish: sovereign spreads throughout the eurozone jumped, with the jump emphasizing the differentiation by financial sector vulnerability and public debt levels. The results imply that, to varying degrees, countries may have moved to a new regime of weak economic outlook, financial sector fragilities, and strains on public finances.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 09/108.

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Length: 39
Date of creation: 01 May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:09/108
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  1. Pagano, Marco & von Thadden, Ernst-Ludwig, 2004. "The European Bond Markets Under EMU," CEPR Discussion Papers 4779, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2008. "Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace," NBER Working Papers 14587, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rudiger Ahrend & Boris Cournède & Robert W.R. Price, 2008. "Monetary Policy, Market Excesses and Financial Turmoil," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 597, OECD Publishing.
  4. Barry Eichengreen & Ashoka Mody & Milan Nedeljkovic & Lucio Sarno, 2009. "How the Subprime Crisis Went Global: Evidence from Bank Credit Default Swap Spreads," NBER Working Papers 14904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Eichengreen, Barry & Mody, Ashoka, 1998. "Interest Rates in the North and Capital Flows to the South: Is There a Missing Link?," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 35-57, October.
  6. Lorenzo Codogno & Carlo Favero & Alessandro Missale, 2003. "Yield spreads on EMU government bonds," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(37), pages 503-532, October.
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