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A message relayed on the WhatsApp broadcast of a brokerage house has kicked up a fuss that’s refusing to subside well beyond the 24-hour news cycle.

The country’s five-year credit default swap (CDS) — a type of insurance against the risk of sovereign default — increased by almost 20 percentage points on a day-on-day basis to a multi-year high of 75.5 per cent on Nov 15.

It took hardly any time to turn the 11-word message into a well-padded story. Then came the onslaught of YouTube videos on the impending sovereign default, and before you could say “verified information”, former PM Imran Khan began using this chatter to set off alarm bells in public rallies about a certain sovereign default. In response, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar broke his silence on Saturday and called such concerns baseless.

But what is the CDS and is it an indicator of default risk?