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.
Laura Kodres, Kristian Hartelius, and Kenichiro Kashiwase
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Despite recent turmoil, spreads on emerging market countries' sovereign bonds have fallen dramatically since mid-2002. Some have attributed the fall to improved economic fundamentals while others to ample global liquidity. The paper models spreads and attempts to empirically distinguish between the two factors. The results indicate that fundamentals, as embedded in credit ratings, are very important, but that expectations of future U.S. interest rates and volatility in those expectations are also a key determinant of emerging market spreads.