Sovereign Debt

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Sovereign Debt'

Bonds issued by a national government in a foreign currency, in order to finance the issuing country's growth. Sovereign debt is generally a riskier investment when it comes from a developing country, and a safer investment when it comes from a developed country. The stability of the issuing government is an important factor to consider, when assessing the risk of investing in sovereign debt, and sovereign credit ratings help investors weigh this risk.

VIDEO

Loading the player...

BREAKING DOWN 'Sovereign Debt'

An unfavorable change in exchange rates, and an overly optimistic valuation of the payback from the projects that the debt is used to finance, can make it difficult for countries to repay sovereign debt. The only recourse for the lender is to renegotiate the terms of the loan - it cannot seize the government's assets. A country that defaults on its sovereign debt will have difficulty obtaining a loan in the future.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Sovereign Default

    A failure on the repayment of a county's government debts. Countries ...
  2. Sovereign Credit Rating

    The credit rating of a country or sovereign entity. Sovereign ...
  3. Sovereign Risk

    The risk that a foreign central bank will alter its foreign-exchange ...
  4. Emerging Market Economy

    A nation's economy that is progressing toward becoming advanced, ...
  5. Political Risk

    The risk that an investment's returns could suffer as a result ...
  6. Restructuring

    A significant modification made to the debt, operations or structure ...
Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI Germany

    Learn about iShares MSCI Germany, which is a nondiversified exchange traded fund that invests principally in large-cap German companies.
  2. Investing Basics

    Sovereign Wealth Funds - Friend Or Foe?

    With $5.86 trillion in assets as of September 2013, SWFs have a great deal of clout in financial markets. But as the majority of SWFs are located in the Middle East and Asia, whether these largely ...
  3. Credit & Loans

    How Countries Deal With Debt

    For many emerging economies, issuing sovereign debt is the only way to raise funds, but things can go sour quickly.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    An Introduction To Sovereign Wealth Funds

    Countries use sovereign wealth funds to stabilize their economies, but these investments can lack transparency.
  5. Personal Finance

    Investing In Emerging Market Debt

    This asset class has left much of its unstable past behind. Find out how to invest in it.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Guggenheim Enhanced Short Dur

    Find out about the Guggenheim Enhanced Short Duration ETF, and learn detailed information about this fund that focuses on fixed-income securities.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Core Growth Allocation

    Find out about the iShares Core Growth Allocation Fund, and learn detailed information about its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  8. Economics

    A Look at Greece’s Messy Fiscal Policy

    Investigate the muddy fiscal policy, tax problems, and inability to institute austerity that created the Greek crises in 2010 and 2015.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR Barclays Short Term Hi Yld Bd

    Find out about the SPDR Barclays Short Term High Yield Bond ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the fund that tracks short-term, high-yield corporate bonds.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR Barclays Short Term Corp Bd

    Learn about the SPDR Barclays Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF, and explore detailed analysis of the exchange-traded fund tracking U.S. short-term corporate bonds.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the main risks to the economy of a country that has implemented a policy ...

    The main risk to the economy of a country that has implemented a policy of austerity is the potential for a self-reinforcing, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can I buy emerging market bonds on my Roth IRA?

    Almost any security can be purchased within a Roth IRA. With stocks, bonds, mutual funds and even some options contracts, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between a global fund and an international fund?

    In the English language, "global" and "international" tend to be used interchangeably - hence the confusion in the investing ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the maximum Social Security disability benefits?

    The maximum Social Security disability benefit amount for a single eligible person in 2015 is $1,165 per month, but you can ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the relationship between the current yield and risk?

    The general relationship between current yield and risk is that they increase in correlation to one another. A higher current ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is a 'busted' convertible bond?

    In finance, a convertible bond represents a hybrid security that offers debt and equity features and risks. While a convertible ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
  2. Tiger Cub Economies

    The four Southeast Asian economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand. Tiger cub economy indicates that ...
  3. Gorilla

    A company that dominates an industry without having a complete monopoly. A gorilla firm has large control of the pricing ...
  4. Elephants

    Slang for large institutions that have the funds to make high volumes trades. Due to the large volumes of stock that elephants ...
  5. Widow's Exemption

    In general terms, a widow's exemption refers to the amount that can be deducted from taxable income by a widow, thereby reducing ...
  6. Wedding Warrant

    A warrant that can only be exercised if the host asset, typically a bond or preferred stock, is surrendered. Until the call ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!