The Use (and Abuse) of CDS Spreads During Distress

Author/Editor:

Carolyne Spackman ; Manmohan Singh

Publication Date:

March 1, 2009

Electronic Access:

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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:

Credit Default Swap spreads have been used as a leading indicator of distress. Default probabilities can be extracted from CDS spreads, but during distress it is important to take account of the stochastic nature of recovery value. The recent episodes of Landbanski, WAMU and Lehman illustrate that using the industry-standard fixed recovery rate assumption gives default probabilities that are low relative to those extracted from stochastic recovery value as proxied by the cheapest-to-deliver bonds. Financial institutions using fixed rate recovery assumptions could have a false sense of security, and could be faced with outsized losses with potential knock-on effects for other institutions. To ensure effective oversight of financial institutions, and to monitor the stability of the global financial system especially during distress, the stochastic nature of recovery rates needs to be incorporated.

Series:

Working Paper No. 09/62

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

March 1, 2009

ISBN/ISSN:

9781451872095/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2009062

Format:

Paper

Pages:

13

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