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Foreign bank lending and bond underwriting in Japan during the lost decade

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  • Jose A. Lopez
  • Mark M. Spiegel

Abstract

We examine foreign intermediation activity in Japan during the so-called "lost decade" of the 1990s, contrasting the behavior of lending by foreign commercial banks and underwriting activity by foreign investment banks over that period. Foreign bank lending is shown to be sensitive to domestic Japanese conditions, particularly Japanese interest rates, more so than their domestic Japanese bank counterparts. During the 1990s, foreign bank lending in Japan fell, both in overall numbers and as a share of total lending. However, there was marked growth in foreign underwriting activity in the international yen-denominated bond sector. A key factor in the disparity between these activities is their different clienteles: While foreign banks in Japan lent primarily to domestic borrowers, international yen-denominated bond issuers were primarily foreign entities with yen funding needs or opportunities for profitable swaps. Indeed, low interest rates that discouraged lending activity in Japan by foreign banks directly encouraged foreign underwriting activity tied to the so-called "carry trades." Regulatory reforms, particularly the "Big Bang" reforms of the 1990s, also play a large role in the growth of foreign underwriting activity over our sample period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2006-45.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2006-45

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Keywords: Banks and banking; Foreign - Japan ; Bank underwriting;

References

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  1. Gorton, Gary & Winton, Andrew, 2003. "Financial intermediation," Handbook of the Economics of Finance, in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 431-552 Elsevier.
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  9. Robert N McCauley, 1999. "The Euro and the Liquidity of European Fixed Income Markets," CGFS Papers chapters, in: Bank for International Settlements (ed.), Market Liquidity: Research Findings and Selected Policy Implications, volume 11, pages 1-26 Bank for International Settlements.
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  13. Kollo, Michael G., 2005. "Underwriter competition and gross spreads in the eurobond market," Working Paper Series 0550, European Central Bank.
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