Staff Working Paper No. 739
By David Beers and Jamshid Mavalwalla
Until recently, there have been few efforts to systematically measure and aggregate the nominal value of the different types of sovereign government debt in default. To help fill this gap, the Bank of Canada’s Credit Rating Assessment Group (CRAG) has developed a comprehensive database of sovereign defaults posted on the Bank of Canada’s website that now is updated in partnership with the Bank of England. Our database draws on previously published data sets compiled by various public and private sector sources. It combines elements of these, together with new information, to develop estimates of stocks of government obligations in default, including bonds and other marketable securities, bank loans, and official loans in default, valued in US dollars, for the years 1960 to 2017 on both a country-by-country and a global basis. This update of CRAG’s database, and future updates, will be useful to researchers analyzing the economic and financial effects of individual sovereign defaults and, importantly, the impact on global financial stability of episodes involving multiple sovereign defaults.