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Consumption baskets and currency choice in international borrowing, Volume 1
Author:Bengui, Julien; Nguyen, Ha Minh; Country:World;
Date Stored:2011/11/03Document Date:2011/11/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Economic Theory & Research; Labor Policies; Emerging Markets; Debt Markets; Currencies and Exchange Rates
Language:EnglishMajor Sector:Finance
Rel. Proj ID:1W-Capital Flows And Financial Integration -- -- P053639;Region:The World Region
Report Number:WPS5870Sub Sectors:General finance sector
Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5870Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP)TF No/Name:TF040145-WORLD:; BBRSB-BB RESEARCH SUPPORT BUDGET; TF010688-KCP II - Understanding Capital Flows to Developing Countries; TF092859-KCP - CAPITAL RAISING ACTIVITY IN DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL MARKETS; TF098583-KCP II - On the use of domestic and international debt markets; TF092864-CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF MACROECONOMIC VOLATILITY; TF094565-KCP II - GLOBALIZATION, RISK, AND CRISES; TF040198-WORLD:
Volume No:1  

Summary: Most emerging markets do not borrow much internationally in their own currency, although doing that has been argued as an attractive insurance mechanism. This phenomenon, commonly labeled "the original sin", has mostly been interpreted as evidence of the countries' inability to borrow in domestic currency from abroad. This paper provides a novel explanation for that phenomenon: not that countries are unable to borrow abroad in their currency, they might not need to do so. In the model, the small prevalence of external borrowing in domestic currency arises as an equilibrium outcome, despite the absence of exogenous frictions or limits on market participation. The equilibrium outcome is driven by the fact that domestic and foreign lenders have differential consumption baskets. In particular, a large part of domestic lenders' consumption basket is denominated in domestic currency whereas all of foreign lenders' is in dollars. A depreciation of domestic currency, which tends to occur in bad times, is therefore less harmful to domestic savers than to foreign investors. This makes domestic lenders require a lower premium than foreign lenders on domestic currency debt. For plausible calibrations, this consumption basket effect can induce foreign investors to pull out of the domestic currency debt market.

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