Coronavirus Economic Distress Heatmap

ACGA’s Coronavirus Economic Distress Heatmap ranks the short term economic and default risk of 75 emerging and frontier markets. The pandemic is now affecting the more vulnerable economies in the world, where both healthcare capacity and financial resources are more constrained. Countries in this group can be affected through a variety of accelerant risk contagion channels, including dependence on commodities, tourism, and remittances. Higher degrees of informality will also make it more difficult for monetary and fiscal policy to provide relief to those most affected. 

We evaluate the severity of the immediate fiscal shock and risk to government finances for this group of countries by ranking their short-term credit risk and public health indicators*. Raw scores are transformed so that the lower score is the better and then normalized using a min-max normalization, after which we derive a force ranking into 25 groups of 3 countries for both indicators. We have sourced data from, Moody’s Country Credit Statistical Handbook, the World Health Organization, and Johns Hopkins University. For a detailed walkthrough of the calculations and methodology, please contact us at

Bubble size reflects a country’s external debt in billions of U.S. dollars.

Countries that are already in default or engaged in discussions to restructure their debt are not captured.

*For credit risk, we use five measures, weighted equally: the performance of the country’s currency versus the US dollar since the beginning of the year, the ratio of short term debt to hard currency reserves, the importance of trade to the economy, the share of government revenues taken up by interest payments on debt, and the country’s external debt to GDP. For public health, where detrimental scores would suggest a sharper and longer economic impact of the crisis, we use four measures, also weighted equally: the weekly growth in total diagnosed cases of Coronavirus, hospital beds per 10,000 population, the latest available adult mortality rate, and the prevalence in the population of a variety of conditions known to expose patients to higher risk, such as diabetes and chronic respiratory illness.