Sovereign debt restructuring Main drivers and mechanism

28-02-2017

This briefing provides an overview of the main issues relating to the restructuring of sovereign debt, and outlines the factors which impact the decision as to whether or not to proceed with debt restructuring. Restructuring is a complex issue – it involves positive and negative aspects, which need to be analysed in order to be able to determine whether it can deliver any added value. ‘A sovereign debt restructuring can be defined as an exchange of outstanding sovereign debt instruments, such as loans or bonds, for new debt instruments or cash through a legal process’. The current situation in the euro area, characterised by high levels of debt and the continuing trend of many Member States to run budget deficits, combined with a low growth environment, raises the issue of debt sustainability. In addition, the low level of inflation recorded in recent years (and deflation in some cases) has played an important role in the increase of debt burdens. The lack of an EU - level transparent framework for sovereign debt restructuring could potentially entail higher additional costs. As part of the EU’s financial stability management instruments, sovereign debt restructuring could form a part of the EU toolbox.

This briefing provides an overview of the main issues relating to the restructuring of sovereign debt, and outlines the factors which impact the decision as to whether or not to proceed with debt restructuring. Restructuring is a complex issue – it involves positive and negative aspects, which need to be analysed in order to be able to determine whether it can deliver any added value. ‘A sovereign debt restructuring can be defined as an exchange of outstanding sovereign debt instruments, such as loans or bonds, for new debt instruments or cash through a legal process’. The current situation in the euro area, characterised by high levels of debt and the continuing trend of many Member States to run budget deficits, combined with a low growth environment, raises the issue of debt sustainability. In addition, the low level of inflation recorded in recent years (and deflation in some cases) has played an important role in the increase of debt burdens. The lack of an EU - level transparent framework for sovereign debt restructuring could potentially entail higher additional costs. As part of the EU’s financial stability management instruments, sovereign debt restructuring could form a part of the EU toolbox.