DP2138 UDROP: A Small Contribution to the New International Financial Architecture

Author(s): Willem H. Buiter, Anne Sibert
Publication Date: May 1999
Keyword(s): Contingent Credit Line, Disorderly Markets, Foreign Debt Rollover Option, Liquidity Crisis
JEL(s): F31, F32, F33, F34, G13
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2138

The purpose of the UDROP proposal is to prevent debt rollover crises for foreign-currency-denominated debt instruments. For such liabilities, there is no international analogue to the domestic lender of last resort or to domestic deposit insurance. UDROP stands for Universal Debt Rollover Option with a Penalty. Our proposal is that all foreign currency loans should have a rollover option attached to them. The 'pure' version of the option would entitle the borrower to extend or roll-over his performing debt at maturity for a specified period. The pricing of the option would be left to the contracting parties. A number of variants on the basic version are also considered. These make the individual borrower's ability to exercise his option contingent on the prior declaration of a state of 'disorderly markets', by the national central bank, the International Monetary Fund or an indicator of 'disorderly markets'. All versions of the scheme have the property that no commitment of public money is required, either by national governments or by international agencies such as the IMF or the World Bank. The UDROP proposal is rule based and general: it is mandatory for all foreign-currency debt and automatic. That is, it is exercised at the discretion of the borrower. This stands in sharp contrast to the current practice of discretionary and politicised refinancing arrangements cobbled together in an ad-hoc manner on a case-by-case basis by the IMF. UDROP is market-oriented: the terms and conditions on any foreign-currency loan and associated roll-over option would be negotiated by the lenders and borrowers.