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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Dötz, Niko & Fischer, Christoph, 2010. "What can EMU countries' sovereign bond spreads tell us about market perceptions of default probabilities during the recent financial crisis?," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2010,11, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp1:201011

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    Cited by:

    1. Eisenkopf, Gerald & Hessami, Zohal & Fischbacher, Urs & Ursprung, Heinrich W., 2015. "Academic performance and single-sex schooling: Evidence from a natural experiment in Switzerland," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 123-143.
    2. Dufrénot, Gilles & Gente, Karine & Monsia, Frédia, 2016. "Macroeconomic imbalances, financial stress and fiscal vulnerability in the euro area before the debt crises: A market view," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 123-146.
    3. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2016. "How the euro-area sovereign-debt crisis led to a collapse in bank equity prices," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 266-275.
    4. Beirne, John & Fratzscher, Marcel, 2013. "The pricing of sovereign risk and contagion during the European sovereign debt crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 60-82.
    5. Torój, Andrzej & Bednarek, Elżbieta & Bęza-Bojanowska, Joanna & Osińska, Joanna & Waćko, Katarzyna & Witkowski, Dariusz, 2012. "EMU: the (post-)crisis perspective. Literature survey and implications for the euro-candidates," MF Working Papers 12, Ministry of Finance in Poland, revised 06 Mar 2012.
    6. Georgoutsos, Dimitris A. & Migiakis, Petros M., 2013. "Heterogeneity of the determinants of euro-area sovereign bond spreads; what does it tell us about financial stability?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4650-4664.
    7. Gabrisch, Hubert & Orlowski, Lucjan T. & Pusch, Toralf, 2012. "Sovereign default Risk in the Euro-Periphery and the Euro-Candidate Countries," MPRA Paper 41265, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Pusch, Toralf, 2012. "The role of uncertainty in the euro crisis: A reconsideration of liquidity preference theory," Discussion Papers 31, University of Hamburg, Centre for Economic and Sociological Studies (CESS/ZÖSS).
    9. Bruneau, Catherine & Delatte, Anne-Laure & Fouquau, Julien, 2014. "Was the European sovereign crisis self-fulfilling? Empirical evidence about the drivers of market sentiments," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 38-51.
    10. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2012. "The Greek financial crisis: Growing imbalances and sovereign spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 498-516.
    11. Weitzel, Utz & Kling, Gerhard & Gerritsen, Dirk, 2014. "Testing the fire-sale FDI hypothesis for the European financial crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(PB), pages 211-234.
    12. Gómez-Puig, Marta & Sosvilla-Rivero, Simón & Ramos-Herrera, María del Carmen, 2014. "An update on EMU sovereign yield spread drivers in times of crisis: A panel data analysis," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 133-153.
    13. Umberto Muratori, 2014. "Contagion in the Euro Area Sovereign Bond Market," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, December.
    14. Christoph M. Schmidt & Benjammin Weigert, 2013. "Weathering the Crisis and Beyond: Perspectives for the Euro Area," Ruhr Economic Papers 0409, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Gibson, Heather D. & Hall, Stephen G. & Tavlas, George S., 2014. "Fundamentally Wrong: Market Pricing of Sovereigns and the Greek Financial Crisis," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 39(PB), pages 405-419.
    16. Jens Klose & Benjamin Weigert, 2014. "Sovereign Yield Spreads During the Euro Crisis: Fundamental Factors Versus Redenomination Risk," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(1), pages 25-50, March.
    17. Dötz, Niko, 2014. "Decomposition of country-specific corporate bond spreads," Discussion Papers 37/2014, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    18. Christoph Schmidt & Benjamin Weigert, 2013. "Weathering the crisis and beyond: perspectives for the Euro area," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(4), pages 564-595, August.
    19. Ejsing, Jacob & Lemke, Wolfgang, 2011. "The Janus-headed salvation: Sovereign and bank credit risk premia during 2008-2009," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 28-31, January.
    20. Klose, Jens & Weigert, Benjamin, 2012. "Determinants of sovereign yield spreads during the Euro-crisis: Fundamental factors versus systemic risk," Working Papers 07/2012, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung.
    21. Alter, Adrian & Schüler, Yves S., 2012. "Credit spread interdependencies of European states and banks during the financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 3444-3468.
    22. repec:zbw:rwirep:0409 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Projektgruppe Gemeinschaftsdiagnose, 2010. "Gemeinschaftsdiagnose Herbst 2010: Deutschland im Aufschwung - Wirtschaftspolitik vor wichtigen Entscheidungen," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 63(20), pages 03-61, October.

    More about this item


    Sovereign bond spread; GARCH-in-mean; default probability;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration

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