Discussion paper

DP10058 External Liabilities and Crises

We examine the determinants of external crises, focusing on the role of foreign liabilities and their composition. Using a variety of statistical tools and comprehensive data spanning 1970-2011, we find that the ratio of net foreign liabilities to GDP is a significant crisis predictor. This is primarily due to the net position in debt instruments--the effect of net equity liabilities is weaker and net FDI liabilities seem if anything an offset factor. We also find that: i) breaking down net external debt into its gross asset and liability counterparts does not add significant explanatory power to crisis prediction; ii) the current account is a powerful predictor; iii) foreign exchange reserves reduce the likelihood of crisis more than other foreign asset holdings; iv) a parsimonious probit containing those and a handful of other variables has good predictive performance in- and out-of-sample. The latter result stems largely from our focus on external crises sensu stricto.


MILESI-FERRETTI, G and L Catao (eds) (2014), “DP10058 External Liabilities and Crises”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 10058. https://cepr.org/publications/dp10058