Debt Redemption and Reserve Accumulation
40 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2013 Last revised: 8 Mar 2021
Date Written: June 2013
In the past decade, foreign participation in local-currency bond markets in emerging countries has increased dramatically. We revisit sovereign debt sustainability under the assumptions that countries can borrow internationally using their own currencies and accumulate reserves. As opposed to traditional sovereign-debt models, asset-valuation effects occasioned by currency fluctuations act to absorb global shocks and smooth consumption. Countries do not accumulate reserves to be depleted in “bad” times. Instead, issuing domestic debt while accumulating reserves acts as a hedge against external shocks. A quantitative exercise of the Brazilian economy suggests this strategy to be effective for smoothing consumption and reducing the occurrence of default.
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