sovereign debt

  

Definition

Government debt, especially that held in bonds denominated in foreign currencies.

Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, the repayment of sovereign debt cannot be forced by the creditors and it is thus subject to compulsory rescheduling, interest rate reduction, or even repudiation. The only protection available to the creditors is threat of the loss of credibility and lowering of the international standing (the sovereign debt rating) of a country, which may make it much more difficult to borrow in the future.

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