This paper investigates the impact of infectious diseases on the evolution of sovereign credit default swap (CDS) spreads for a panel of 77 advanced and developing countries. Using annual data over the 2004-2020 period, we find that infectious-disease outbreaks have no discernible effect on CDS spreads, after controlling for macroeconomic and institutional factors. However, our granular analysis using high-frequency (daily) data indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on market-implied sovereign default risk. This adverse effect appears to be more pronounced in advanced economies, which may reflect the greater severity of the pandemic and depth of the ensuing economic crisis in these countries as well as widespread underreporting in developing countries due to differences in testing availability and institutional capacity. While our analysis also shows that more stringent domestic containment measures help lower sovereign CDS spreads, the macro-fiscal cost of efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the disease could undermine credit worthiness and eventually push the cost of borrowing higher.
A case study approach is used to assess the multi-pronged policy response of seven small financially open economies with flexible exchange rate regimes to external shocks following the global financial crisis. FX intervention was frequently used— including during outflow episodes to prevent disorderly depreciation and preserve financial stability. Monetary policy often considered both financial and external stability. Capital flow management measures were sometimes calibrated symmetrically over the cycle while macroprudential measures were mostly deployed during inflow episodes. Assessment of the macroeconomic conditions paints an inconclusive picture on the benefits or costs of such policies, suggesting the need for further analysis.