K4D Helpdesk Report;689

Determinants of Sovereign Debt Default: Some Evidence from FCAS and MENA Countries

Published on 14 November 2019

The review of influential empirical studies has identified several useful determinants or indicators for sovereign debt defaults in FCAS, MENA, and other countries. Some of these indicators include total debt to GDP ratio, debt to exports ratio, external debt as a percentage of reserves, external debt as a percentage of gross national income, short-term debt to reserves ratio, debt service to revenues ratio, debt service to reserves ratio, new financing needs, GDP growth, GDP per capita, trade openness, institutional quality, inflation rate, currency overvaluation, treasury bill rate, current account as a percentage of reserves, primary deficit, the volatility of fiscal policy, etc. These determinants/indicators of sovereign debt default can be universally used by most countries. However, countries will differ on how well-placed they are on these indicators. Compared to countries with more robust institutions, countries with weaker institutions (e.g. many FCAS countries and poorer MENA countries) may witness debt distress and default at relatively lower levels of sovereign debt.

Cite this publication

Megersa, K. (2019). Determinants of Sovereign Debt Default: Some Evidence from FCAS and MENA Countries. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.


Kelbesa Megersa

Research Officer

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Megersa, Kelbesa


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