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Trichet Bonds to Resolve the European Sovereign Debt Problem

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  • Nicholas Economides
  • Roy C. Smith

Abstract

We propose the creation of “Trichet Bonds” as a comprehensive solution to the current sovereign debt crisis in the EU area. “Trichet Bonds,” to be named after the ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet, will be similar to “Brady Bonds” that resolved the Latin American debt crisis in the late 1980s and were named after the then Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady. Like the Brady Bonds, Trichet Bonds will be new long-duration bonds issued by countries in the EU area that will be collateralized by zero-coupon bonds of the same duration issued by the ECB. The zero-coupon bonds will be sold by the ECB to the countries issuing Trichet Bonds, which will be offered in exchange for outstanding sovereign debt of the countries. The exchange is offered at market value, so current debt holders will experience a “haircut” from par value, and thus the exchange does not involve a “bailout.” However, present holders of sovereign debt will be exchanging low quality bonds with limited liquidity, for higher quality bonds with greater liquidity. Debt holders not accepting the exchange will be at risk of a forced restructuring at a later date at terms less favorable. The effect of the exchange offer, if a threshold of approximately 70% approve it, is to replace old debt with a lesser amount of new debt with longer maturities. The creation of Trichet bonds will result in various advantages both in comparison to the present unstable situation and other proposed solutions. First, the long duration of Trichet bonds will eliminate the immediate crisis caused by short term expiration of significant amounts of debt which is looming over Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and possibly other EU countries. Second, the guarantee of the principal with the zero-coupon ECD bond collateral increases the quality of the Trichet Bonds compared to existing sovereign debt. Third, the market for the new Trichet Bonds will be liquid and likely to trade at appreciating prices as refinancing (roll-over) risk is reduced
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Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Economides & Roy C. Smith, 2011. "Trichet Bonds to Resolve the European Sovereign Debt Problem," Working Papers 11-05, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ste:nystbu:11-05
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    File URL: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/networks/Economides-Smith_Trichet_Bonds.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Ojo, Marianne, 2011. "Capital, liquidity standards and macro prudential policy tools in financial supervision: addressing sovereign debt problems," MPRA Paper 31068, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Christian Bauer & Bernhard Herz & Alexandra Hild, 2011. "Structured Eurobonds," Research Papers in Economics 2011-09, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    3. Alexandra M.D. Hild & Bernhard Herz & Christian Bauer, 2014. "Structured Eurobonds: Limiting Liability and Distributing Profits," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 250-267, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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