Friday, November 27, 2009Just a REMINDER, republished exactly the same!
Few days ago, inquiring minds asked Nobel Prize Krugman about debt/GDP ratio comparisons. There is a bizarre school of thought who tend to think that sovereign public debt does not matter or debt can be accumulated for long time without sustainability and solvency problems.
The Dubai crisis is simply reminding us: a) the financial crisis is not over b) any debt needs to be paid back, no matter if it's private or sovereign (or a mix of the two).
In the case of Dubai, Buiter is stressing that the debt of the Dubai World Group and of Nakheel was not Dubai sovereign debt or sovereign-guaranteed debt. Yet financial markets are reacting as if either private or public (sovereign) debt levels are important. As a matter of fact the financial crisis has shown how private debts of banks and financial institutions become public debt and greatly contribute to its growth.
The volume of activity in sovereign credit default swaps – which measure the cost to insure against bond default has recently increased enormously. Some countries, like Greece, are showing clear sign of Sovereign Credit Deterioration. Bets on rich country bond defaults aim at guessing Which of the “Rich Four” Countries Will Default First?.
Italy is an interesting case as CDS volumes (USD gross notional) and contracts increased both about 48% in one year. Italy has one of the highest debt/GDP ratio of the developed economies and CDS volume is now the highest for an individual country.
So what are CDS and Interest Rates Telling Us? Simply that investors are increasingly worried about debt in the world, particularly industrialized countries and they are hedging long-tail risk.
Although debt as the percentage of GDP is not the only criteria to really assign a viable ranking to the default risk, it's a reminder that investors would like to be paid back sooner or later and all bills have to be paid.
That is why it is so important that you eat debt immediately, on Thanksgiving.
And do not tell people that Dubai is a Black Swan when it's just a roasted turkey as usual.