Wednesday, December 11, 2019

"Frontier Market Borrowing Binge"

"Emerging market speculation tends to appear at a juncture in the economic cycle when 
declining yields on domestic bonds combine with an excess of capital to make 
foreign investments particularly attractive."
-Edward Chancellor
Chapter 4, Fool's Gold: The Emerging Markets of the 1820's
From the IMFBlog, November 18, 2019:
By IMFBlog
Español, Português
Rock bottom global interest rates have been a boon for so-called frontier-market countries, which have been able to borrow cheaply to finance their development needs. But there can be too much of a good thing: countries that don’t put the money to good use may have trouble servicing their loans and find themselves at risk of default.

As the Chart of the Week shows, hard-currency bond sales by frontier issuers—countries such as Angola, Belarus, and Pakistan—are poised to rise to $38 billion this year, close to the record set in 2017. Over the five years to mid-2019, the total stock of frontier hard-currency debt tripled to $200 billion.
For some countries, overseas debt represents a growing share of financial resources. The stock of hard-currency bonds for the median frontier borrower has grown to 7 percent of GDP and almost half of gross reserves, from 3 percent of GDP and 20 percent of reserves in 2014. A broader group of low-income developing countries that are having trouble servicing their debt, or are at high risk of debt distress, has doubled since 2013 to 43 percent. Should global interest rates rise, these countries will find it even harder to service their overseas obligations—an issue highlighted in the IMF’s latest Global Financial Stability Report....MORE
I trot the Chancellor out from time to time, it is really quite incisive, eh?