The arrogance of hindsight

Some governments are reportedly becoming more active in using derivatives to manage their debt and funding costs. While arguably quite sensible, public distrust and sensationalist journalism present special dangers, argues David Rowe

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As reported in this month's issue of Risk (see page 18), some sovereign debt issuers are starting to use derivatives more actively and openly in managing their debt costs. Most readers will welcome this as an overdue adoption of tools that have long played a constructive role in the private sector. While I agree in principle, it should not be forgotten that such an innovation will unfold within a political hothouse of suspicion and misunderstanding.

I recall a story more than 20 years ago about a

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