An error occured. Details Hide
You have unsaved pages. Restore Cancel

A sovereign default is the failure or refusal of the government of a sovereign state to pay back its debt in full. Cessation of due payments (also euphemistically termed receivables) may either be accompanied by formal declaration (repudiation) of a government not to pay (or only partially pay) its debts, or it may be unannounced. Defaults have typically involved low-income and emerging-market economies, although recent cases include advanced-economy sovereigns.

Until recently, there have been few efforts to systematically measure and aggregate the nominal value of the different types of sovereign government debt in default. This reflects a number of factors. An important reason is that there is no single internationally recognized definition of what constitutes a sovereign default. As a result, standards used by government borrowers and their creditors to report defaults, if they report at all, differ, and information on the various types of defaulted debt must be mined from different sources. To help fill this gap, the Bank of Canada’s Credit Rating Assessment Group (CRAG) has developed a comprehensive database of sovereign defaults. The database draws on previously published data sets compiled by various official and private sector sources. It combines elements of these, together with new information, to develop estimates of stocks of government obligations in default, including bonds and other marketable securities, bank loans, and official loans in default, valued in U.S. dollars, for the years 1975 to 2014 on both a country-by-country and a global basis.

In addition to the country-by-country components, in most cases the database contains the following aggregate data for the period starting in 1975 to 2014: total debt in default (in nominal U.S. dollars);  total debt in default by creditor type; number of sovereign governments in default; outstanding Paris Club and global general government or public debt; and global gross domestic product.

For the basic definitions see the bottom of the page. For the further details on methodology please consult the Bank of Canada's technical report.

Source: Database of Sovereign Defaults, 2015

Related Data Insights

External Debt by Country: Data and Charts

Government Gross Debt

Chinese Economy is Like a Bubble

Nowadays China is the fast-growing developing country, which GDP increases by an average 10 percent a year. According to World Bank, China is "the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history". By United Nations (UN) classification China belongs to developing countries, but Quartz reports, that UN doesn’t have an official definition of developing/developed countries. Usually, two main indicators used to distinguish developed countries from developing countries: GDP per Capita and sometimes Human Developing Index. Some economists determine the average level of GDP countries are developed: $25 Thousand. There is no level of HDI...

Haitian Gourde Rate