Which Countries Have The Highest Default Risk: A Global CDS Heatmap

Sweden beats USA and Germany as the least likely to default on its bonds but at the other end of the global sovereign risk spectrum lie two socialist utopias - Venezuela (CDS just shy of 6000bps) and Greece (CDS around 1800bps) are the nations most likely to default.

Of course, our readers will be well aware of this: back in December, when its CDS was trading at "only" 2300 bps (or whatever points upfront equivalent it was back then) we said Venezuela CDS are going much, much wider. Little did we know that in just about 14 months they would more than double, and as of last check, Venezuela CDS are just shy of 6000bps suggesting a default is virtually guaranteed.

So aside from these two socialist utopias, who else is on the default chopping block? The CDS heatmap below lays out all the countries which according to the market, are most likely to tell their creditors the money is gone... it's all gone.

Below, in order of declining default risk, are the ten most likely to follow Venezuela and Greece into the great default unknown:

  1. Ukraine
  2. Pakistan
  3. Egypt
  4. Brazil
  5. South Africa
  6. Russia
  7. Portugal
  8. Kazakhstan
  9. Turkey
  10. Vietnam


Sovereign Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are financial contracts that measure the risk of default on sovereign debt: the higher the spread, the greater the risk of default.

Source: BofA

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