Safe Debt and Uncertainty in Emerging Markets : An Application to South Africa

Author/Editor:

Magnus Saxegaard

Publication Date:

December 19, 2014

Electronic Access:

Free Full Text (PDF file size is 721 KB).Use the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this PDF file

Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

This paper develops a methodology for estimating a safe public debt level that would allow countries to remain below a maximum sustainable debt limit, taking into account the impact of uncertainty. Our analysis implies that fiscal policy should target a debt level well below the debt ceiling to allow space to absorb shocks that are likely to hit the economy. To illustrate our findings we apply the methodology to estimate a safe debt level for South Africa. Our results suggest that South Africa’s debt ceiling is around 60 percent of GDP, although uncertainty is high. Simulations suggest targeting a debt-to-GDP ratio of 40 percent of GDP would allow South Africa to remain below this debt ceiling over the medium-term with a high degree of confidence.

Series:

Working Paper No. 14/231

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

December 19, 2014

ISBN/ISSN:

9781498399432/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2014231

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

27

Please address any questions about this title to publications@imf.org