The large holdings of government securities by banks in India draw attention to their risk as interest rates are at historical low levels. This paper measures such a risk using duration and value-at-risk methods and assesses its current management by banks. The main finding is that some public sector and old private banks are vulnerable to a reversal of the interest rate cycle, while foreign and new private banks have built adequate defenses. In this regard, the paper makes a number of recommendations regarding government policies and individual bank practices to manage interest rate risk.
Recent years have witnessed a surge in the issuance of Islamic capital market securities (sukuk) by corporates and public sector entities amid growing demand for alternative investments. As the sukuk market continues to develop, new challenges and opportunities for sovereign debt managers and capital market development arise. This paper reviews the key developments in the sukuk market and informs the debate about challenges and opportunities going forward.
Credit ratings have contributed to the current financial crisis. Proposals to regulate credit rating agencies focus on micro-prudential issues and aim at reducing conflicts of interest and increasing transparency and competition. In contrast, this paper argues that macro-prudential regulation is necessary to address the systemic risk inherent to ratings. The paper illustrates how financial markets have increasingly relied on ratings. It shows how downgrades have led to systemic market losses and increased illiquidity. The paper suggests the use of "ratings maps" and stress-tests to assess the systemic risk of ratings, and increased capital or liquidity buffers to manage such risk.
In contrast to the early-warning system literature, we find that currency and debt crises are not closely linked in emerging markets. We find that after 1994, credit ratings predict debt crises but fail to anticipate currency crises. When debt crises are defined as sovereign distress-when spreads are higher than 1,000 basis points-we find that countries experience reduced capital market access and high interest rates on their external debt for typically more than two quarters. We also find that lagged ratings and ratings changes, including negative outlooks and credit watches, anticipate such debt crises.
This paper takes a closer look at the prudential and regulatory measures needed to prepare India's financial system to manage the risks arising from fuller capital account convertibility (FCAC). The paper contributes to the debate on FCAC in two ways. First, it reviews the potential and existing financial stability challenges to FCAC in India. Second it studies how prudential regulation and supervision is addressing these challenges. The main conclusion is that regulatory and supervisory measures alone are not enough and will need to be complemented by improvements in Indian banks' risk management and further development of the domestic capital markets.
Post debt relief, the number of African countries considering accessing international capital markets, often to fund large infrastructure projects, is increasing. Potential risks of capital inflows are well known but the literature offers little help to estimate the cost of borrowing internationally for the first time. This paper proposes a two-step approach to estimate the sovereign credit rating and interest rate cost of a country considering borrowing externally. Estimates can be used to assess the costs and benefits of different financing options. The method can also be used to construct foreign currency as well as domestic local currency yield curves.
The expansion of the global mutual funds industry has been characterized by growth in mature as well as emerging markets. This has clearly contributed to the development of local securities markets in emerging market economies, which in turn, has been key in attracting investment inflows from overseas funds. A major concern, however, is that large foreign investors could significantly disrupt the stability of local capital markets in the event of a market shock, with systemic implications for the real economy. Our estimates suggest that while local investors remain the more important group in terms of market share, the influence of foreign funds cannot be discounted. Asset allocation decisions by mature market funds- both dedicated and crossover-in aggregate, could affect emerging markets. In particular, European mutual funds appear to play a much bigger role in emerging markets than their U.S. counterparts.
This paper uses a panel data estimation of a simple univariate model of sovereign spreads on ratings to analyze statistically significant deviations from the estimated relationship. We find evidence of an asymmetric adjustment of spreads and ratings when such deviations are significant. In addition, the paper illustrates how significant disagreements between market and rating agencies'' views can be used as a signal that further technical and sovereign analysis is warranted. For instance, we find that spreads were "excessively low" for most emerging markets before the Asian crisis. More recently, spreads were "excessively high" for a number of emerging markets.
The paper analyzes the choice between public and private debt by an entrenched manager. The model shows that when the firm’s credit risk is low, management issues public bonds because of the value gains from increased flexibility rather than reduced restrictions and monitoring. In fact, management’s expected private gains decrease as initial private debt restrictions are selectively relaxed. In contrast, when credit risk is high, management issues private debt because of the value gains and private benefits from renegotiating more stringent restrictions. When the maturity of private debt is shortened, however, privately and publicly placed bonds can be preferred to bank debt.
In contrast to corporate defaults, regulators typically take a number of statutory actions to avoid the large fiscal costs associated with bank defaults. The distance-to-default, a widely used market-based measure of corporate default risk, ignores such regulatory actions. To overcome this limitation, this paper introduces the concept of distance-to-capital that accounts for pre-default regulatory actions such as those in a prompt-corrective-actions framework. We show that both risk measures can be analyzed using the same theoretical framework but differ depending on the level of capital adequacy thresholds and asset volatility. We also use the framework to illustrate pre-default regulatory actions in Japan in 2001-03.
We use event study methods to compare the market reaction to U.S. and EU-wide stress tests performed from 2009 to 2013. Typically, stress tests have a positive impact on stressed banks’ returns. While the 2009 U.S. stress test had a large positive outcome, the impact of subsequent U.S. exercises decreased over time. The 2011 EU exercise is the only EU-wide stress test that resulted in a significant negative market reaction. Comparing past exercises suggests that the qualitative aspects of the governance of stress tests can matter more for stock market participants than technical elements, such as the level of the minimum capital adequacy threshold or the extent of data disclosure.
This paper offers a policy and operational "roadmap" to policymakers considering setting up an SWF. It should also be of interest to policymakers in countries where SWFs are already in place, to review their existing policies and operations. Finally, it offers an opportunity to identify areas where research in macroeconomics and finance should give further answers as to the adequacy of existing practice related to the setting up and management of SWFs, an area where practical considerations often lead theoretical research. For instance, policymakers should optimally consider both their sovereign assets and liabilities together with their macroeconomic objectives, when setting up an SWF.
This paper examines the spillover effects of sovereign rating news on European financial markets during the period 2007-2010. Our main finding is that sovereign rating downgrades have statistically and economically significant spillover effects both across countries and financial markets. The sign and magnitude of the spillover effects depend both on the type of announcements, the source country experiencing the downgrade and the rating agency from which the announcements originates. However, we also find evidence that downgrades to near speculative grade ratings for relatively large economies such as Greece have a systematic spillover effects across Euro zone countries. Rating-based triggers used in banking regulation, CDS contracts, and investment mandates may help explain these results.
Currency boards operate differently from standard pegs. The former exhibit greater currency stability and lower transaction costs, inflation, and nominal interest rates, but are limited in their use of devaluation. We extend Drazen and Masson’s (1994) signaling model to consider the choice between currency board arrangements and standard pegs. The model shows that currency boards’ effectiveness hinges on their credibility properties and that they can improve welfare even with high unemployment persistence. By reducing expected inflation and the negative employment effect arising from expected but unrealized inflation, currency boards can produce less unemployment than peg regimes that abstain from devaluation.
Crises on external sovereign debt are typically defined as defaults. Such a definition accurately captures debt-servicing difficulties in the 1980s, a period of numerous defaults on bank loans. However, defining defaults as debt crises is problematic for the 1990s, when sovereign bond markets emerged. In contrast to the 1980s, the 1990s are characterized by significant foreign debt-servicing difficulties but fewer sovereign defaults. In order to capture this evolution of debt markets, we define debt crises as events occurring when either a country defaults or its bond spreads are above a critical threshold. We find that our definition outperforms the default-based definition in capturing debt-servicing difficulties and, consequently, in fitting the post-1994 period. In particular, liquidity indicators are significant in explaining our definition of debt crises, while they do not play any role in explaining defaults after 1994.
The paper reviews trends and developments in the rapidly growing local currency debt markets in the WAEMU. The main findings are that common institutions, such as a regional central bank and securities exchange have led to high cross-border transactions within the union. However, excess liquidity in the regional banking system has led to limited credit differentiation among issuers and a reliance on supply and demand conditions as a key determinant of yields. The paper also discusses a number of policy issues, including debt management, that are likely to emerge as the markets for government securities continue to develop.
Countries with an abundance of natural resources, many of which are in sub-Saharan Africa, often show a record of relatively poor economic performance compared with non-resource-rich countries. The chapters in this volume explore the potential challenges to countries with abundant natural resources and ways to manage these challenges so as to reap the benefits of resource wealth while avoiding the pitfalls. The book is divided into five sections, which explore commodity markets and the macroeconomy, economic diversification and the role of finance, fiscal policy, exchange rates and financial stability, and governance. The ideas in this book were first presented at a seminar in November 2010 that was aimed primarily at policymakers in sub-Saharan Africa and brought together ministers, central bank governors, other senior policymakers, and well-known academics.
We study how investors account for the riskiness of banks'' risk-weighted assets (RWA) by examining the determinants of stock returns and market measures of risk. We find that banks with higher RWA had lower stock returns over the US and European crises. This relationship is weaker in Europe where banks can use Basel II internal risk models. For large banks, investors paid less attention to RWA and rewarded instead lower wholesale funding and better asset quality. RWA do not, in general, predict market measures of risk although there is evidence of a positive relationship before the US crisis which becomes negative afterwards.
We study how investors account for the riskiness of banks' risk-weighted assets (RWA) by examining the determinants of stock returns and market measures of risk. We find that banks with higher RWA had lower stock returns over the US and European crises. This relationship is weaker in Europe where banks can use Basel II internal risk models. For large banks, investors paid less attention to RWA and rewarded instead lower wholesale funding and better asset quality. RWA do not, in general, predict market measures of risk although there is evidence of a positive relationship before the US crisis which becomes negative afterwards.
Bid-ask spreads for Asian emerging market currencies increased sharply during the Asian crisis. A key question is whether such wide spreads were excessive or explained by models of bid-ask spreads. Precrisis estimates of standard models show that spreads during the crisis were in most cases tighter than spreads predicted by the models and there are few cases of excessive spreads. The result is largely explained by the substantial increase in exchange rate volatility during the crisis and to some extent by the level change. The empirical models have greater explanatory power for emerging- than for mature-market currencies.