Follow the Money

Brad Setser tracks cross-border flows, with a bit of macroeconomics thrown in.

Latest Post

IMF roundtable on tackling public debt during IMF Spring Meetings
IMF roundtable on tackling public debt during IMF Spring Meetings Ken Cedeno/Reuters

Getting Debt Restructuring Terms Right

State contingent instruments can play a role in debt restructuring agreements, but they shouldn’t be a give-away to investors.  There is a compelling case for their use in Zambia—but not in Sri Lanka. Read More

The Common Framework and Its Discontents
The IMF's debt sustainability assessments for Zambia and Sri Lanka differ so greatly that it's hard to understand how both emerged from the same institution. Case-by-case only works with some consistency across cases.
How an SDR Denominated Bond Could Work
How would an SDR bond work? Could such a bond issue help stretch the World Bank's and safely mobilize billions to fight poverty and finance investments in clean technology in the world's frontier markets?
The World Bank Stepped Up During the Pandemic
The World Bank (and the IMF) should get credit for increasing their lending to the world's poorest countries during the pandemic. But without additional action, net flows to developing economies will fall off a cliff.
  • China
    China's Rising Holdings of U.S. Agency Bonds
    China has discovered, once again, that the best alternative to a U.S. Treasury bond is a U.S. Agency bond...
  • Economics
    Three Steps to Strengthen the U.S. Treasury's Foreign Exchange Report
    The analytics used in the U.S. Treasury's Foreign Exchange Report should be updated to better capture the significant state flows that no longer appear as part of many country's disclosed foreign exchange reserves.
  • Japan
    The Disappearing Japanese Bid for Global Bonds
    The rise in Japanese holdings of foreign bonds had an enormous impact on global markets between 2011 and 2020. The markets will now have to adapt to a sustained reduction in Japanese demand.
  • China
    China's Balance of Payments Data Does Not Add Up
    China's current balance of payments data doesn't quite make sense. Significant and poorly explained gaps exist between the reported BoP data and the underlying source data. China's economy is so big that data gaps really matter.
  • Economics
    The New Geopolitics of Global Finance
    The global balance of payments only adds up if the G-7's geopolitical rivals are also its bankers.
  • Economics
    I am stepping down from my position at the Council of Foreign Relations to take a new job. That, among other things, means that I will not be blogging here for the foreseeable future. I am enormou…
  • Currency Reserves
    It Is Time To Scrap the IMF's Reserve Adequacy Metric
    The IMF reserve metric isn't working: it is failing to differentiate between obviously under-reserved countries like Turkey and Argentina and adequately reserved countries like China.