Sometimes these risks can be readily addressed by relatively straightforward measures, such as by lengthening the maturities of borrowings and paying the associated higher debt servicing costs (assuming an upward sloping yield curve), by adjusting the amount, maturity, and composition of foreign exchange reserves, and by reviewing criteria and governance arrangements in respect of contingent liabilities. Risky debt structures are often the consequence of inappropriate economic policies--fiscal, monetary and exchange rate--but the feedback effects undoubtedly go in both directions.Guidelines for Public Debt Management -- Amended Amended on December 9, 2003 Amendments to the Guidelines for Public Debt Management November 25, 2003 Guidelines for Public Debt Management—Summary Guidelines for Public Debt Management: Accompanying Document Code of Good Practices on Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies IMF Publications on public debt 1.Sovereign debt management is the process of establishing and executing a strategy for managing the government's debt in order to raise the required amount of funding, achieve its risk and cost objectives, and to meet any other sovereign debt management goals the government may have set, such as developing and maintaining an efficient market for government securities. In a broader macroeconomic context for public policy, governments should seek to ensure that both the level and rate of growth in their public debt is fundamentally sustainable, and can be serviced under a wide range of circumstances while meeting cost and risk objectives.Examples of indicators that address the issue of debt sustainability include the public sector debt service ratio, and ratios of public debt to GDP and to tax revenue. Poorly structured debt in terms of maturity, currency, or interest rate composition and large and unfunded contingent liabilities have been important factors in inducing or propagating economic crises in many countries throughout history.For example, irrespective of the exchange rate regime, or whether domestic or foreign currency debt is involved, crises have often arisen because of an excessive focus by governments on possible cost savings associated with large volumes of short-term or floating rate debt.Although government debt management policies may not have been the sole or even the main cause of these crises, the maturity structure, and interest rate and currency composition of the government's debt portfolio, together with substantial obligations in respect of contingent liabilities have often contributed to the severity of the crisis.
Sovereign debt managers share fiscal and monetary policy advisors' concerns that public sector indebtedness remains on a sustainable path and that a credible strategy is in place to reduce excessive levels of debt.Debt managers should ensure that the fiscal authorities are aware of the impact of government financing requirements and debt levels on borrowing costs.By reducing the risk that the government's own portfolio management will become a source of instability for the private sector, prudent government debt management, along with sound policies for managing contingent liabilities, can make countries less susceptible to contagion and financial risk. A government's debt portfolio is usually the largest financial portfolio in the country.It often contains complex and risky financial structures, and can generate substantial risk to the government's balance sheet and to the country's financial stability.
This has left government budgets seriously exposed to changing financial market conditions, including changes in the country's creditworthiness, when this debt has to be rolled over.Foreign currency debt also poses particular risks, and excessive reliance on foreign currency debt can lead to exchange rate and/or monetary pressures if investors become reluctant to refinance the government's foreign-currency debt.