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What can EMU countries' sovereign bond spreads tell us about market perceptions of default probabilities during the recent financial crisis?

  • Dötz, Niko
  • Fischer, Christoph

This paper presents a new approach for analysing the recent development of EMU sovereign bond spreads. Based on a GARCH-in-mean model originally used in the exchange rate target zone literature, spreads are decomposed into a risk premium, an expected loss component and a liquidity premium. Time-varying default probabilities are derived. The results suggest that the rise in sovereign spreads during the recent financial crisis mainly reflects an increased expected loss component. In addition, the rescue of Bear Stearns in March 2008 seems to mark a change in market perceptions of sovereign bond risk. The government bonds of some countries lost their former role as a safe haven. While price competitiveness always helps to explain sovereign spreads, it increasingly moved into investors' focus as financial sector soundness weakened.

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Paper provided by Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre in its series Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies with number 2010,11.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:201011
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  1. Simone Manganelli & Guido Wolswijk, 2009. "What drives spreads in the euro area government bond market?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 191-240, 04.
  2. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff & Miguel A. Savastano, 2003. "Debt Intolerance," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(1), pages 1-74.
  3. Jarrow, Robert A & Turnbull, Stuart M, 1995. " Pricing Derivatives on Financial Securities Subject to Credit Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(1), pages 53-85, March.
  4. Darrell Duffie & Lasse Heje Pedersen & Kenneth J. Singleton, 2003. "Modeling Sovereign Yield Spreads: A Case Study of Russian Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(1), pages 119-159, 02.
  5. Edda Zoli & Silvia Sgherri, 2009. "Euro Area Sovereign Risk During the Crisis," IMF Working Papers 09/222, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Morris Goldstein & Philip Turner, 2004. "Controlling Currency Mismatches in Emerging Markets," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 373, December.
  7. Barry Eichengreen & Ricardo Hausmann & Ugo Panizza, 2003. "Currency Mismatches, Debt Intolerance and Original Sin: Why They Are Not the Same and Why it Matters," NBER Working Papers 10036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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