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Public debt management in emerging market economies : has this time been different ?

Listed author(s):
  • Anderson, Phillip R. D.
  • Silva, Anderson Caputo
  • Velandia-Rubiano, Antonio
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    Despite the scale of the global financial crisis, to date it has not resulted in a sovereign debt crisis among emerging market countries. Two significant factors in this outcome are the improved macroeconomic management and public debt management in these countries over the past decade. This paper reviews the improvements in macroeconomic fundamentals and the composition of public debt portfolios in emerging market countries prior to the crisis and concludes that the policies and strategies pursued by governments provided them with a buffer when the crisis hit. Nevertheless, with the international capital markets effectively closed for over three months and domestic borrowing in many cases impacted by extreme risk aversion, government debt managers were required to adapt their strategies to rapidly changing circumstances. The paper reviews the impact of the crisis and the responses of debt managers to the drying up of international capital, decreased liquidity in markets, and sharply increased term premia. Three categories of response are identified: (i) funding from other sources to reduce pressure on market borrowing; (ii) adapting funding programs to changes in demand in the different types of securities; and (iii) implementing liability management operations to support the market. Most governments were willing to accept temporarily greater risk in their portfolios, often reversing long established strategies, at a time when financial markets were under stress. These actions contributed to the measures taken by governments to stabilize markets and prevent economies from stalling. Looking to the future, government debt managers will need to consider how they can increase the resilience of public debt portfolios for the uncertain times that lie ahead.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5399.

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    Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5399
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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
    2. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
    3. Stephen Cecchetti & Madhusudan Mohanty & Fabrizio Zampolli, 2010. "The future of public debt: prospects and implications," BIS Working Papers 300, Bank for International Settlements.
    4. John Y. Campbell & Robert J. Shiller, 1996. "A Scorecard for Indexed Government Debt," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 155-208 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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