Risky Sovereign Capital Structure: Relative Value and Arbitrage

Posted: 1 May 2015 Last revised: 16 Apr 2018

Date Written: April 15, 2015


We consider a risky country having bonds outstanding both in foreign hard currency (Eurobonds) and local soft currency (treasuries). This is done under an enhanced structural credit risk Merton style model. The liability side the sovereign balance sheet is composed of three tranches in increasing order of seniority: monetary base, domestic debt, and foreign debt. They represent contingent claims on the country assets with the monetary base being the equity tranche and the foreign debt with priority in payment being the super-senior tranche. The focus of the paper is on the consistency that must hold between their values. More specifically we try to investigate how the capital structure arbitrage works both in relative value terms and dynamically over the business cycle. For the purpose we stick to elaborating on practical trading strategies backed by comprehensive empirics. The results of the paper could be of interest to desks and funds specialized in fixed income research and strategy.

Keywords: capital structure, Merton model, risky sovereign spreads, relative value, arbitrage

JEL Classification: F30, E43, G12, G15, C58

Suggested Citation

Yordanov, Vilimir, Risky Sovereign Capital Structure: Relative Value and Arbitrage (April 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2600480

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