The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper computes the default probabilities implicit in the prices of Brady bonds of seven developing countries and examines the factors that determine the high cross-correlation of the probability paths. The term structure of U.S. interest rates and the ratio of long-term foreign debt to GDP, together with a developing market index, explain more than 75 percent of the cross-sectional distribution of the default probabilities. The paper also demonstrates a new way to extract sovereign riskiness, implicit in traded bond prices. This allows the above results to be interpreted as explaining the cross-sectional distribution of sovereign riskiness as well.