BERKELEY, California – Last March, when COVID-19 infected the world economy, many observers feared that emerging markets and developing countries would suffer the most, financially and otherwise. Economically, they relied on commodity exports, remittances, and tourism, all of which fell through the floor with the pandemic. There was every reason to expect a tsunami of financial crises and debt defaults.
The tsunami never arrived. Just six countries — Argentina, Ecuador, Belize, Lebanon, Suriname, and Zambia — have defaulted on their sovereign debt, and only the first two have restructured their debts.