Financial stability and local currency bond markets

CGFS Publications No 28
June 2007

Introduction

Local currency bond markets can help financial stability by reducing currency mismatches and lengthening the duration of debt. Such markets also help economic efficiency by generating market-determined interest rates that reflect the opportunity costs of funds at different maturities. The absence of such markets can lead borrowers to take risky financing decisions that create balance sheet vulnerabilities. Such balance sheet weaknesses played a key role in virtually every major financial crisis affecting the emerging market economies (EMEs) since the early 1980s.

This report demonstrates that several major EMEs have effectively addressed this problem during the past decade. Nevertheless, operational risks inevitably arise in a transitional period when nascent markets still lack those features that help the more mature markets to work well even in volatile conditions. This report therefore examines several important challenges in ensuring that comparatively new bond markets function in ways that contribute best to financial stability and economic progress.

JEL classification: E44, F34, G10