Ein Jahr der Staatspleiten?

MIAMI – Was Staatsschulden angeht, wird der Begriff der „Pleite“ oft missverstanden. Dies bedeutet fast nie die vollständige und dauerhafte Nichtanerkennung der gesamten Schuldenlast. Sogar einige Anleihen aus der russischen Zarenzeit wurden nach der Revolution von 1917 schließlich (wenn auch nur teilweise) zurückgezahlt. Statt dessen zieht eine Nichtzahlung, oder bei privaten Gläubigern laut der Definition der Rating-Agenturen ein „Zahlungsverzug“, normalerweise Gespräche über eine Umschuldung nach sich, in der es um Laufzeitverlängerungen, Aussetzung von Zinszahlungen, Zahlungsaufschübe oder Schuldenschnitte (so genannte „Haircuts”) gehen kann.

Wenn man die Erfahrungen der Vergangenheit berücksichtigt, könnten 2016 viele solcher Gespräche nötig sein.

Wie so viele andere weltwirtschaftliche Phänomene neigen Kreditaufnahme und Pleiten dazu, in Zyklen abzulaufen. Seit 1800 gab es in der Weltwirtschaft einige solcher Zyklen, wobei der Anteil einzelner Länder, in denen es eine Umschuldung gab, in jedem einzelnen Jahr zwischen Null und 50% schwankte (wie in der Abbildung dargestellt). Zwar gab es auch immer wieder Bankrott-„Flauten“ von einem oder zwei Jahrzehnten Dauer, aber auf jede ruhige Phase folgte unweigerlich eine neue Welle von Zahlungsunfähigkeit.

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