Tag Archives: Cost of default

Argentina’s Debt Negotiations

In the FT, Chris Giles, Gillian Tett, Elaine Moore and Benedict Mander report about the negotiations between Argentina and the country’s creditors that are about to start, now that the new government has taken office.

Argentina’s finance minister has announced that the country intends to honor the face value of outstanding debt but wishes to negotiate interest payments.

As a sign of support from the international community, Jack Lew, Treasury secretary, announced that the US had ended its formal opposition to the World Bank and other multilateral development banks’ lending to Argentina.

Observers expect that the IMF will soon be involved to provide technical assistance.

In an FT blog, Charles Blitzer argues that successful negotiations should start with a non-disclosure agreement. He links to the Institute of International Finance‘s Principles for Stable Capital Flows and Fair Debt Restructuring.

“Sovereign Debt with Heterogeneous Creditors,” JIE, 2016

Journal of International Economics 99(S1), March 2016, with Harris Dellas. PDF.

We develop a sovereign debt model with heterogeneous creditors (private and official) where the probability of default depends on both the level and the composition of debt. Higher exposure to official lenders improves incentives to repay due to more severe sanctions but it is also costly because it lowers the value of the sovereign’s default option. The model can account for the co-existence of private and official lending, the time variation in their shares in total debt as well as the low rates charged on both. It also produces intertwined default and debt-composition choices.

Contagion in the Euro Area

In a Vox column, Michal Kobielarz, Burak Uras and Sylvester Eijffinger argue that the  re-emergence of spreads between peripheral and core Eurozone countries at the beginning of the Greek crisis reflected contagion fears. They write:

… we explicitly model the endogenous bailout decision of the European Monetary Union. We assume that:

  • A country that defaults on its sovereign debt can no longer remain in the EMU, unless it is bailed out;
  • The union values each country’s membership and, therefore, suffers a loss if a country exits; and
  • The marginal loss associated with allowing a country to leave the union is highest if that particular country is the first to leave (first-exit effect).

… once the first country is gone, letting a second country default and leave the union is not that costly anymore.

Argentina’s Costless Default

Werner Marti reports in the NZZ that in contrast to events in 2001, Argentina’s latest default has not generated significant additional costs for the typical Argentinian household. Additional, that is, to the costs that households had to bear because their country had already mostly been excluded from international capital markets at affordable rates.

Laut allen unseren Gesprächspartnern ist dieses Ereignis an den Argentiniern weitgehend folgenlos vorbeigegangen, denn das Land hatte bereits zuvor keinen Zugang zu internationalen Krediten mit zahlbaren Zinssätzen. Dies heisst natürlich nicht, dass sich mittel- und langfristig das Investitionsklima nicht weiter verschlechtern wird, falls die Präsidentin den Konflikt mit den von ihr als «Geierfonds» bezeichneten Gläubigern nicht doch noch löst.

Marti also reports about new trains that take commuters from Buenos Aires to the Tigre-Delta. They are imported from China, and financed with Chinese credit.