The period when a number of European countries encountered the collapse of financial institutions coupled with increased government debt and swiftly increasing bond yield spreads in the securities of government, is acknowledged as the European sovereign debt (Lane, 2012). The reports have showcased that European sovereign debt crises was at its peak during the time period of 2010 to 2012 (Auer 2017; Beirne and Fratzscher, 2013). One major reason behind this peaked crisis can be linked with the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 along with the period of Great Recession from 2008 to 2012 (Beirne and Fratzscher, 2013). However, it is also said that beginning of European sovereign debt crises took place in 2008 when the banking system of Iceland collapsed (Alter and Beyer, 2014). In this review of literature, difference sources from the literature has been reviewed for analysing the euro sovereign debt market from 2000 to 2020 pre debt crises and pot debt crises particularly for the regions of Ireland, USA, and the EU.
The debt market is also known as bond market which is essentially a fixed-income market or credit market. The issues related to debt securities are handled collectively in the debt markets and processes typically involve governments issuing bond in typical manner for raising capital along with funding improvement in infrastructure or paying down debts. The analysis of debt market with respect to financial crises and recession is given as follow:
In 2008, the financial crises introduced an epic extent of problems that even astronomical amounts of effort put into addressing the problem is insufficient. Apart from this, in an attempt to bail out markets and institutions, the Federal Reserve publicised $700 billion with about $1.3 trillion in investments approved by Congress in several uncertain resources, comprising loans to otherwise bankrupt institutions and collateralized debt obligations (Blundell-Wignall, and Slovik, 2011). It was also observed that additional $900 billion was proposed for lending the large corporations that made the total bailout amount approximately $3 trillion. This does not count the immense sum of corporate debts guaranteed by the U.S. government. This colossal failure urge to carried out the analysis on highlighting fundamental causes due to which the entire financial system of the work has been put at risk.
A number of scholars who analysed the financial crises time period have put the blame on defaulting mortgages (Aizenman, Hutchison, and Jinjarak, 2013), however, the deeper analysis showcased that this massive tragedy is only a symptom or component of deeper problem. It is also investigated that the pricing of debt was essentially estimated to exceed as compared to the estimate principal amount of $55 trillion. Moreover, it was also observed that the pricing of credit default exchange was unregulated totally and most of the time it was being contracted over the phone without any proper documentation. This can be regarded as the primary fundamental issue that stimulated all other problems or crises.
Investment done in any debt needs to be compensated not only for the money’s time value but also in terms of its “premium for the credit risk of the debt” (Glover and Richards-Shubik, 2014). In usual circumstances, compensation for the time value of money is commonly offered by debt promising minimally, a return up to that of the rate is accessible on default-free government securities such as “U.S. Treasury Bonds”. Investor must be compensated with the credit risk premium over the decided rate for not only the anticipated value of defaulting losses but also for the regular threat apropos of the debt along with any embedded options (Chan-Lau, Liu, and Schmittmann, 2015).
This lead the investors to start perceiving that non-payments could supper beyond mortgages eventually giving rise to the systematic risks premiums across all the debt instruments. As a result this could impact on the fall of debt prices across the board. Falling of debt prices in systematic manner led to more increase in the professed logical threat and more increase in the premiums of systematic risk which collectively brought the financial crises 208 affecting number of economies.
As a result of banking and fiscal crisis, Ireland is regarded as the most adversely affected countries amid the recession and financial crises time. Despite this fact, Irish economy succeeded in sustaining growth achievements for almost two decades which was admired widely. The way Ireland entered the recession is extremely important to explore initially before analysing the sovereign debt market. The growth until about 2000 has been regarded as the secure export-led foundation which was underpinning the restraint of wage (Blommestein and Turner, 2011). On the other hand, the character or trend of growth changed after 2000 as soon as construction bubble and property price took hold. With this boom, output growth and employment sustained until 2007 regardless of the loss of competitiveness in wages (Broner et al., 2014). The boom was fuelled by the banks and exposing the pressures of funding as well as solvency. Successive Governments had bought industrial peace with the tax reduction with rely on increase on volatile sources of revenue. Resulting to this, base of tax become increasingly susceptible to a recession. The sharp fall in the rates of interest is one of the triggers for the property bubble following the euro membership. However, these prompts were lacking thus Irish policymakers ignored the public finance’s basics, bank regulation, and wage policy.
Ireland, during the 1990s, emerged from the prolonged phase of economic unproductivity marked by crippling public debt regardless of high levels of tax, high unemployment, and mass departure (Whelan, 2011). Until 2007, expansion in GDP was observed 6% every year as an average. It was also noticed that rate of unemployment also shrunk from 16% in 1994 to 4% in 2000. Meanwhile, the population of non-agricultural employment in 1993 was 33 percent which jumped to 41% in 2000 and 46% by recession.
Considering the situation of Ireland prior to hitting the economic recession, it was at the frontier of the economic prosperity yet two continuous decades of rapid growth bring the economy of Ireland at collapse adversely as compared to all the other countries in the ongoing economic recession or financial crisis. In 2008, Irish economy experience the fall in the real GDP by 2% which increase to 8% further in 2009. By the year 2010, a total of 11 to 12 % fall was experience in the real GDP. The recession in the real economy has been reflected in the unexpected occurrence of an indistinguishable disaster in the public finances and in the banking sector. As a result, these impact affected negatively into the availability of credit and increase in the rates of taxes deepen the output loss. The answer to the question what went wrong is linked with the bust study combining the hubris shaped during the solid growth years i.e. prior to 2000. A subtle role was played by EMU membership in the manner that it reassured policy makers with a false security sense. Simultaneously, it is also to state that Ireland was being protected from even wore collapse of its economy due to having euro.
For understanding what went wrong in Irish economy during recession, it is important to differentiate between two distinct phases of growth. By the year 2000, the phase was of exceptional export-led growth having price inflation, wage, and healthy public finances of moderate level. This period started in late 1980s when sovereign debt was tackled by the government by negotiating a range of unified social partnership contracts seemingly to have brought moderation in the rate of wage as a result of concession in income tax. This convergence time period was over by the year 2000 but growth continue to increase in Ireland. Afterwards, it was observed that a decade long unsustainability was experienced in the prices of property and construction boom. At initial level, it was prompted by the rise in the formation of household and through the sharp fall in the rates of interest complemented by the conversion of EMU membership. Meanwhile, it was also observed as the analysis that the negotiated restraint in wages for concession of income tax continued to bargain for being renewed.
It was the time when a number of countries in Europe encounter the collapse of financial institution as a result of sovereign debt crisis including rapidly increase in bond and high government debt spreads in the securities of the government. In 2008, the European sovereign debt crisis began as the banking system of Ireland collapsed. The contributing causes that are were highlighted mainly in the research papers were the 2007 financial crisis and the duration of Great Recession that lasts from 2008 to 2012. The crisis peaked during the time of 2010 and 2012. It was also said that the property bubble and real estate market crisis were also the cause of recession in European Economy. The financial policies of peripheral states with respect to the expenses of the government and revenue also contributed to the situation of European economy recession.
As the year 2009 ended, the bordering Eurozone member states of Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, and Portugal were not able to refinance and repay their debt from government or bail out their beleaguered banks. The support or assistance of third-party financial institutions was needed such as EFSF and ECB or IMF. This lead to increase in the European sovereign debt crisis that peaked between 2010 and 2012. As a result of recession, the fear of excessive sovereign debt was spread among the lenders leading them to demand higher rates of interests from EU states in 2010 with high deficit and debt levels posing increased hardship for the regions to finance their budget deficits. Resulting, it was shown that some of the countries that were affected adopted the approach of slashing expenditures or raising taxes for combating the crisis. This lead to increase in the social distress and the confidence in leadership stared to cripple.
In the US economy, the great recession lasted from 2007 to 2009 which was said to be the longest contraction since the “great depression”. The crisis of subprime mortgage activated a bank credit crisis at global level and damaging the economy of USA via widespread use of derivatives (Gutkowski, 2021). The USA’s GDP shrank in three quarters that entail a major drop of 8.4% in the fourth quarter. The rate of unemployment also rose by 10% in 2009 that lagged behind the reason causing recession. In the quarter three of the 2009 financial year, the recession ended in the USA turning positive impact on the GDP as a result of economic stimulus package.
Losses on financial assets related to mortgage in 2007 started to cause strains in the financial markets leading the economy of the US to enter a recession in 2007. In that year, a number of large firms of finance encountered monetary distress and a number of financial debt markets encountered great extent of turbulence.
As the response to this, the liquidity and support was provided by the Federal Reserve by means of the range of programs intent to motivate the desire of improving the function of financial markets and institutes. Thus the harm to the economy of US limit by these measures. On the other hand, the economic contraction in the fall of 2008 worsened that eventually deepen and protracted to achieve the title of “the Great Recession” making the economy of the US to bottomed out in the middle of 2009. The recovery in the immediate years following the recession were measures to the slow in unusual manner.
By the Federal Reserve, unprecedented financial accommodation was provided as to response to the severity of contraction which ensured the recovery in the gradual pace. Additionally, the financial crisis and recession led to the series of major reformations in the financial and banking regulations; congressional regulation that majorly affected the Federal Reserve.
Prior of the sovereign debt crises took place in EU, USA, and Ireland, the banking system of Iceland experienced the debt crises in 2008 initially. The crises then spread in 2009 among Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Italy. The spread bring about the popularisation of an offensive moniker (PIIGS), which then causes the loss of confidence in the economies and businesses of European (Whelan, 2011). During the beginning of sovereign debt in EU, Ireland, and USA, the control was in the hands of financial guarantees of European countries and IMF – International Monetary Fund (IMF). It is retrieved from the literature that sovereign debt crises lead rating agencies to downgrade several debts of Eurozone countries.
While the analysis of sovereign debt market for Ireland, EU, and USA is taking place, it is inevitable to discuss that literature has indicated one of the major contributing causes of this crisis, i.e. the financial crises of 2007 to 2008 as well as the Great Recession of 2008 to 2012. It can be said that the pre-debt crisis for Ireland, EU, and USA was surrounded by the financial crises and the Great Recession time. It was the time when countries were experiencing real estate market crisis and property bubbles. As found in the research of Whelan (2011), another contributing factor in euro sovereign debt market is the fiscal policies of peripheral stated with respect to the revenues and expenses of government.
According to the study of Blundell-Wignall (2012), the peripheral Eurozone member states of Ireland, Spain, Cyprus, Greece, and Portugal were not capable to refinance or repay their government debt by the end of 2009 without having the assistance of third-party financial institutions. These financial institutions entail the names of the IMF, the ECB (European Central Bank), and the EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility). A report was also put forward in 2009 where Greece disclose that its former regime had completely underreported its financial plan debit which signified the violation of EU policy and prompting frights of collapsing euro through financial and political contagion (Lane 2012).
In order to address and assist with this euro sovereign debt market for Ireland, EU, and the USA; a number of countries in the Eurozone had voted for the creation of EFSF in 2010. However, it is also to notice that it was the same time period (2010 to 2012), when European sovereign debt crisis peaked.
Amid the crises, the fear started to increase for excessive sovereign debt that caused lenders to demand higher rates of interest from the states of Eurozone in 2010 (Matthijs, 2017). Consequently, the high deficit and debt levels made it more difficult for these countries to fund their financial plan debits while experiencing overall low growth of economy. Resulting to this, some of the affected countries in EU slashed expenditures and raised taxes in order to fight against the crises, which caused a social turmoil along with raising question on the leadership in several counties including Ireland (Lane 2012). It has also been reviewed in the literature that several of such countries that raised taxes and slashed expenditures had downgraded their sovereign debt to the junk status by the international credit rating which had further worsened the investor fears (Matthijs, 2017).
The United Stated Congress report in 2012 mentioned that the beginning of Euro sovereign debt crises took place in late 2009 with the revelation of New Greek government regarding misreporting of former government’s data about financial plan (Nelson et al., 2012). The confidence of investors was thus eroded as a result of higher than anticipated deficit levels causing debts to reach at unsustainable levels. As a result, a number of countries in Eurozone had experienced the quick spread of fears related with the unsustainability of debt levels and fiscal positions.
As found in the literature, the development in early 2010 were shown as increasing spreads on sovereign bond yields between the disturbed bordering member states of EU including Ireland and Greece mainly (Chen et al., 2019). The revenue of Greek deviated with Greece requiring assistance of Eurozone by May 2010 (Matthijs, 2017). To this end, the research of Lane (2012) has demonstrated that several bailouts were received by Greece from the IMPF and EU over the succeeding years in in trade with the adoption of austerity measures mandated by EU for cutting public expenditure and increasing taxes significantly. As a result, the economic recession of Ireland and Greece continued. The analysis done by Chen et al., (2019) revealed that social unrest in Ireland was at peak due to these measures taken by the country along with the situation of economy. Having divided fiscal and political leadership, the sovereign debt crises in Ireland was said to be highest during 2012 to 2015.
The United Kingdom, in June 2016, had voted for leaving the EU in the referendum (Auer, 2017). As a result of this vote, the Eurosceptic have been fueled across the continent and conjecture rose that other countries would also leave European Union. A common perception that is extracted from the literature when linking Brexit with European Sovereign debt market crises that this decision was linked with fact that EU was considered as the “sinking ship” due to increase sovereign debt. The referendum of UK gave shock waves to the economy leading the British pound to be at the lowest against dollar since 1985 due to pushing many yields of the government to the negative value and investors absconded to security (Chen et al., 2019).
The Grexit (Greek withdrawal from the eurozone) and Brexit crises could be perceived as sui generis events, attributable to external factors; poor political and financial handling in the case of Greece (Pedi 2017) and chronic Euroscepticism in the case of the UK (Jessop 2016; Howarth and Schmidt 2016). This, however, would deprive the researcher of the opportunity to identify similarities, potentially revealing structural weaknesses of the EU. The two crises of Grexit and Brexit have had a significant negative impact on the integrity and financial and political stability of the EU, revealing legitimacy issues, undermining solidarity and increasing uncertainty and euroscepticism (Krugman 2015; Lunch 2015; Cox-Brusseau 2019; Dodman 2015). Therefore, avoiding similar incidents is imperative for its prosperity and longevity. This article is an attempt to identify common patterns in the two crises and examine whether they are linked to institutional inadequacies of the EU, as well as how those inadequacies could be addressed to prevent the emergence of similar disintegration crises. The Eurozone crisis and more specifically, the Greek sovereign debt crisis that broke out in 2009, culminating in the 2015 referendum, was the first time disintegration in the EU became a true possibility. Only a year later, the “most significant referendum in EU’s history” (Hobolt 2016, 1279) challenged the European institutions (Walter 2017), as the people of the UK voted to leave the EU. At first glance, Grexit and Brexit appear fundamentally different. Grexit refers to the likely possibility of Greece being forced out of the EU as a result of a government-debt crisis. On the other hand, Brexit is an ongoing voluntary disintegration process voted on by the people of the UK via the 2016 referendum.
Although the nature of sovereign debt market crises was widespread across US, EU, and other regions, the research studies have established that Europe owns its specific distinct variety of institutional provisions that are being verified in the extreme and which have worsened the fiscal crisis (Blundell-Wignall, 2012). Through external trade and competitiveness, the economic union is being exposed to disproportionate factual shock waves. The euro sovereign debt market crises led Europe to become unable for adjusting exchange rates and its results were quite evident on the unemployment and labour market. The research study of Matthijs, (2017) has thus mentioned that these pressures have led several countries to attempt to lessen burdens with financial slippage.
However, it is also notice that euro sovereign debt market impact was exacerbated its indebtedness because of recession and financial crisis which, consecutively contributed in underlying instability of finance – the biggest problem of Europe (Auer, 2017). Since the time period of pre debit crises, the financial system of EU had been undergoing massive transformational via innovation and deregulation (Lane, 2012). It is also noticed that derivatives increase from two and half times world gross domestic product in 1998 to very astounding 12-times gross domestic product on the day before the crisis (Matthijs, 2017). Although the prime securities continued to be widely firm at around two times the gross domestic product during the debt market crises period. Throughout the banking system, multiple counterparty risks exist as these divergent trends indicated the growth of capital markets banking along with the repeated use / re-use of hypothecation of the same collateral.
The reason why sovereign crises are being dealt in the dangerous way in Europe is due to the capital markets banking and traditional markets banking. As mentioned in the study of Blundell-Wignall (2012), the countries that have large capital market banks are greatly bared to the sovereign debit of superior EU countries. The concerns linked with solvency instantly get transformed into the liquidity crisis. It is also said that when financial institutions cannot meet the collateral calls, emergence of liquidity crises take place and banks are not offered with the time to recapitalise by means of retributions. Given the fact that the funding for Small and medium sized enterprises are dependent on banks and deleveraging them as the result of pressures was said to reinforced the plunging pressure on the EU’s economy. While considering the sovereign debt crises in EU region, researchers had suggested that if other sectors can run down saving for offsetting the impact of growth, governments can raise saving to stabilise debt. However, it was also observed that monetary union has resulted in great extent of dues in corporate and household sector that were in worst competitive position.
In the EU, the combined effect of banking crises and generalised deleveraging had ever greater impact as compared to the impact of recession that end up adding the private loan losses to the banking crises. Especially with respect to the cross border disclosure of banks in Europe (Auer, 2017). There was the need for suite of policies for solving the sovereign debt in the EU that must be secured for fixing the fiscal system and needed the strategy for consistent growth and particular solution for jointly supporting bank and sovereign debt crises.
In the most recent times, the impact of euro sovereign debt market crises is widely observed on the Ireland as it was lately forecasted to have “highest government debt per head of population in Europe”. This can be linked with the borrowing related to the impact of COVID19 that pushed the burden on the each individual in the state. As per the news published in Irish Times, the post sovereign debt crises coupled with the impact of COVID-19 made each Irish to shoulder “a debt burden of almost €20,000 more than the EU average” per capita (Reddan, 2021). The European Commission has also issued figures showing that total government debt of Ireland is forecasted to be €241.6 billion for 2021 which is almost ten percent more than the last year (Reddan, 2021). Considering it on the basis of per person, it implies that the burden of debt by the end of 2021 will likely to be the highest burden across the EU and the UK. As per the anticipation, the average EU is € 29,217 while the euro zone average is anticipated to be more than 35 thousand euro. The research of Whelan, (2011) has argued that though the numbers appear to be higher in context of EU only, however, the numbers are significantly smaller considering it in the view of United States that is more than 71 thousand euros. It is also revealed from the statistics that Ireland has encountered sharpest increase in the extent of debt for each of the member over the past few years pose debit crises. The extent is only projected to increase further in coming years.
Irish public borrowing has ramped up over the past year to cope with the cost of the Covid-19 The public borrowing in Ireland has been increasing since last year to cope with the costs incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic as reported by Oxford response that Ireland had the strictest response against this matter. Only the unemployment payments amounted to €140 million for the State, also more than €6 billion was set up to spend as the wage subsidy since the pandemic started; all these consequences resulted in growth in public debt.
However, the global financial crisis of 2008 affected entre EU countries, yet the debt per capita of Ireland remained relatively low as compared with the average EU debt of €15,063. In 2011, Ireland’s debt burden amounted to €41,438 underpinned by significant borrowing to handle the massive crisis that occurred in the banks of the State. This amount was almost double the average EU debt that was €21,137. After this hike, Ireland remained unable to cope with its debt burden since COVID hit.
It is of less importance for the chief economists of KBC Bank Ireland, Austin Hughes, about the metric of debt but the capabilities of a country to repay debt is a matter of consideration. According to Austin Hughes, debt per capita is increased that indicates income per head is comparatively higher than other economies and it is a positive sign that could provide support.
While considering income per head, he says that their capacity is significant. While commenting about the annual servicing cost of €4 billion per year, the chief economists of KBC Banks of Ireland said that the per capita debt burden of the state was about €800. This debt accumulation indicates that it is the right thing to do for the economy to borrow to support them, however, this will benefit the future generation but also increased the gaps to be filled by interests for it. The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe considers debt as a future risk and commented that heavy public debt will bring greater costs for borrowing.
By the year 2014, however, the situation of Ireland was said to be improved as the result of several fiscal reforms, unique economic factors, and domestic austerity measures. However, it was also anticipated that road of full recovery is long given the banking crises took place in Italy, instabilities triggered by Brexit, and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as potential challenges to be overcome.
A number of countries including EU, Ireland, and USA entered the outbreak of COVID-19 with the increased levels of debt. In accordance with the updated database of IMF regarding global debt, it is showcased that global debt including private and public has crossed more than one hundred ninety five trillion dollars by the year 2019 (Global Debt Database, 2021). As a result of this considerable debt, challenges for the countries surged in 2020 that were already facing debt given that collapse of economic activity took place and government acted swiftly for offering support during the pandemic.
It is shown from the data that “global average debt-to-GDP ratio” as per the weight of the GDP of each country in US dollars increase to 226% in 2019 which is one and half percent more than its former year. Major portion of the increase is attributable to the increase in the public debt in the economies of emerging markets and progresses economies outside the EU. The total debt in the low-income countries also increased by 1.3 percent points of GDP in 2019 that were mostly because of the higher private debt, in contrast.
However, recently it has been noticed that the global public debt in 2019 has surpassed the level of public debt in 2007 to 2008 period by 23% point of GDP. Higher levels was observed in the advanced economies wherein the public debt increase to 105% percent from 72%. It is said that higher rates of debt can reduce the capability of government potentially to react to the crisis as forcefully. Therefore, the capability of governments to react in the times of COVID 19 was further undermined as compared to the global recession time period.
During the time of debt crises in the market, the interconnectedness between markets have been revealed clearly when shock were transmitted to one market from another market in the amplified manner by frequently extreme market reactions. As the result of clustered crises since the time period of 2007, the literature has uncovered the extent of this interconnectedness in through manner. Banking crises in 2008 was said to be ignited as the result of subprime mortgage market in the US that took the shape of global recession – pre debt crises era. Afterwards, the series of financial sector bailout took place in 2008 in the Europe that was called the full-blown sovereign debt crises.
Prior to 2007, the sovereign credit risk was virtually absent in the developed economies such as UK, EU, USA, or Ireland, however, it soon became the major concern. The areas of concerns while analysing the review of euro sovereign debt market from 2000 to 2002 pre debit crisis and post debit crises for overall debt market were linked with exploring whether or not the banks rescues were responsible for stimulating the sovereign debt crisis? What was the channels using which the risks in the financial institutions leaked into the public sectors? Whether or not we could detect early warning signals for anticipating the build-up of debt crises? The research has also addresses the questions related to the implications of sovereign distress in the financial markets.
The current literature on the causes of systematic risks are, in general, divided broadly into two categories. The first category is where researchers have attributed the origins of systemic risk to fundamental to common macro-economic shock waves (such asthe research of Reinhart and Rogoff 2009 and Reinhart and Rogoff 2011). On the other hand, some of the researchers in the litterateur are also found to be focusing on the role played by financial system globally in promoting the increase of systemic risk (such as Brunnermeier and Pedersen 2009 and Ang and Longstaff 2013). With respect to these studies EU and Ireland has experience sovereign debt as a result of through capital flows. Liquidity shocks, global risk permia, and funding availability.
Although euro sovereign debt market risk is strongly linked with variables of financial market and it can increase greatly through the effect on the global financial system. It is observed that sovereign debt crisis events such as ECB actions, changes in credit ratings, and publicising the distressed Eurozone countries possess major impact on the common currency and substantially surge the crash risk of the euro (Kräussl Lehnert, and Martelin, 2016).
As a conclusion, it can be said that the European sovereign debt crisis had major consequences on the integration of financial markets. The major implication underlying in the literature include market fragmentation, cross-border portfolio capital flows, and stability of the Euro. With respect to equity and with respect to corporate bond market, market fragmentation has been deepened in Europe that jeopardised the euro project itself (Chen et al. 2019; Pieterse-Bloem et al. 2016). Thereby, the research conclude that euro sovereign debt market from 2000 to 2020 pre debt crisis and post debt crisis for Ireland, EU, and USA have brought a range of long lasting implication in the financial market. Starting from the major setback in the financial integration goal of the Euro to euro crash, exit of the UK from the EU, and challenges of bringing stability in the minatory union are evident. However the impact was most noticed on the Ireland economy that has been increased as a result of pandemic burden.
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