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Charles Cohen, S. M. Ali Abbas, Myrvin Anthony, Tom Best, Mr. Peter Breuer, Hui Miao, Ms. Alla Myrvoda, and Eriko Togo
The COVID-19 crisis may lead to a series of costly and inefficient sovereign debt restructurings. Any such restructurings will likely take place during a period of great economic uncertainty, which may lead to protracted negotiations between creditors and debtors over recovery values, and potentially even relapses into default post-restructuring. State-contingent debt instruments (SCDIs) could play an important role in improving the outcomes of these restructurings.
International Monetary Fund
There have been significant developments in sovereign debt restructuring involving private-sector creditors since the IMF’s last stocktaking in 2014. While the current contractual approach has been largely effective in resolving sovereign debt cases since 2014, it has gaps that could pose challenges in future restructurings.
Kay Chung and Mr. Michael G. Papaioannou
This paper analyzes the effects of including collective action clauses (CACs) and enhanced CACs in international (nondomestic law-governed) sovereign bonds on sovereigns’ borrowing costs, using secondary-market bond yield spreads. Our findings indicate that inclusion of enhanced CACs, introduced in August 2014, is associated with lower borrowing costs for both noninvestment-grade and investment-grade issuers. These results suggest that market participants do not associate the use of CACs and enhanced CACs with borrowers’ moral hazard, but instead consider their implied benefits of an orderly and efficient debt resolution process in case of restructuring.
Mr. Bas B. Bakker, Marta Korczak, and Mr. Krzysztof Krogulski
In the last decade, over half of the EU countries in the euro area or with currencies pegged to the euro were hit by large risk premium shocks. Previous papers have focused on the impact of these shocks on demand. This paper, by contrast, focuses on the impact on supply. We show that risk premium shocks reduce the output level that maximizes profit. They also lead to unemployment surges, as firms are forced to cut costs when financing becomes expensive or is no longer available. As a result, all countries with risk premium shocks saw unemployment surge, even as euro area core countries managed to contain unemployment as firms hoarded labor during the downturn. Most striking, wage bills in euro area crisis countries and the Baltics declined even faster than GDP, whereas in core euro area countries wage shares actually increased.
Ms. Julianne Ams, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Mr. Wolfgang Bergthaler, Ms. Chanda M DeLong, Ms. Nouria El Mehdi, Mr. Mark J Flanagan, Mr. Sean Hagan, Ms. Yan Liu, Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Alex Pienkowski, Mr. Gustavo Pinto, and Mr. Eric Robert


“The IMF’s Role in the Prevention and Resolution of Sovereign Debt Crises” provides a guided narrative to the IMF’s policy papers on sovereign debt produced over the last 40 years. The papers are divided into chapters, tracking four historical phases: the 1980s debt crisis; the Mexican crisis and the design of policies to ensure adequate private sector involvement (“creditor bail-in”); the Argentine crisis and the search for a durable crisis resolution framework; and finally, the global financial crisis, the Eurozone crisis, and their aftermaths.

Mr. Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, Caio Ferreira, Nigel Jenkinson, Mr. Luc Laeven, Alberto Martin, Ms. Camelia Minoiu, and Alex Popov
This paper reviews empirical and theoretical work on the links between banks and their governments (the bank-sovereign nexus). How significant is this nexus? What do we know about it? To what extent is it a source of concern? What is the role of policy intervention? The paper concludes with a review of recent policy proposals.
Mr. Anil Ari
I propose a dynamic general equilibrium model in which strategic interactions between banks and depositors may lead to endogenous bank fragility and slow recovery from crises. When banks' investment decisions are not contractible, depositors form expectations about bank risk-taking and demand a return on deposits according to their risk. This creates strategic complementarities and possibly multiple equilibria: in response to an increase in funding costs, banks may optimally choose to pursue risky portfolios that undermine their solvency prospects. In a bad equilibrium, high funding costs hinder the accumulation of bank net worth, leading to a persistent drop in investment and output. I bring the model to bear on the European sovereign debt crisis, in the course of which under-capitalized banks in defaultrisky countries experienced an increase in funding costs and raised their holdings of domestic government debt. The model is quantified using Portuguese data and accounts for macroeconomic dynamics in Portugal in 2010-2016. Policy interventions face a trade-off between alleviating banks' funding conditions and strengthening risk-taking incentives. Liquidity provision to banks may eliminate the good equilibrium when not targeted. Targeted interventions have the capacity to eliminate adverse equilibria.
Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Dirk Niepelt, and Mr. Romain Ranciere
Rejecting a common assumption in the sovereign debt literature, we document that creditor losses (“haircuts”) during sovereign restructuring episodes are asymmetric across debt instruments. We code a comprehensive dataset on instrument-specific haircuts for 28 debt restructurings with private creditors in 1999–2015 and find that haircuts on shorter-term debt are larger than those on debt of longer maturity. In a standard asset pricing model, we show that increasing short-run default risk in the run-up to a restructuring episode can explain the stylized fact. The data confirms the predicted relation between perceived default risk, bond prices, and haircuts by maturity.
International Monetary Fund
endorsed in October 2014 the inclusion of key features of enhanced pari passu provisions and collective action clauses (CACs) in new international sovereign bonds. Specifically, the Executive Board endorsed the use of (i) a modified pari passu provision that explicitly excludes the obligation to effect ratable payments, and (ii) an enhanced CAC with a menu of voting procedures, including a “single-limb” aggregated voting procedure that enables bonds to be restructured on the basis of a single vote across all affected instruments, a two-limb aggregated voting procedure, and a series-by-series voting procedure. Directors supported an active role for the IMF in promoting the inclusion of these clauses in international sovereign bonds. The IMFC and the G20 further called on the IMF to promote the use of such clauses and report on their inclusion. In September 2015, the IMF published a progress report on the inclusion of the enhanced clauses in international sovereign bonds as of end-July 2015. The report found that since the Executive Board’s endorsement, substantial progress had been made in incorporating the enhanced clauses: 41 issuances, representing 60 percent of the nominal principal amount of total issuances, had included the enhanced clauses as of July 31, 2015. The 2015 paper also provided initial observations on the patterns of incorporation, the market impact of inclusion of the enhanced clauses, and an update on the outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds. This paper provides a further update on the inclusion of the enhanced clauses and on the outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds as of October 31, 2016. Section II reports on the inclusion of these enhanced provisions, finding that uptake of the clauses has continued, with only a small minority of new issuances not including them. Section III provides an update on the outstanding stock, which reveals that while an increasing percentage of the outstanding stock includes enhanced clauses, a significant percentage of the stock still does not. Section IV reports on the use of different bond structures, and Section V describes the staff’s ongoing outreach efforts. Section VI briefly reports on other recent developments relevant to the contractual approach to sovereign debt restructuring and Section VII concludes with next steps.