BIS Working Paper – Overcoming original sin: insights from a new dataset

Mert Onen, Hyun Song Shin and Goetz von Peter

February 2023


This paper introduces a new dataset on emerging market sovereign bonds, distinguishing between the currency of denomination and the residence of investors. Our dataset is on long-term government bonds and provides a more complete coverage of bonds issued in domestic markets. We document several salient trends. While a preponderance of foreign currency bonds is associated with greater holdings by foreign investors, the correlation is weak at best. Over time, emerging market governments have enhanced their ability to borrow abroad in their own currency, reducing their reliance on foreign currency debt. In this sense, EME sovereigns have made progress toward overcoming original sin. Nevertheless, the greater role of market and duration risk and the activity of foreign non-bank financial intermediaries (NBFIs) mean that emerging markets remain subject to fluctuations in global financial conditions.

Overcoming original sin: insights from a new dataset