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Exchange rates, optimal debt composition, and hedging in small open economies

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  • Jose Berrospide
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    Abstract

    This paper develops a model of the firm's choice between debt denominated in local currency and that denominated in foreign currency in a small open economy characterized by exchange rate risk and hedging possibilities. The model shows that the currency composition of debt and the level of hedging are endogenously determined as optimal firms' responses to a tradeoff between the lower cost of borrowing in foreign debt and the higher risk of such borrowing due to exchange rate uncertainty. Both the composition of debt and the level of hedging depend on common factors such as foreign exchange rate risk and the probability of financial default, interest rates, the size of firms' net worth, and the costs of managing exchange rate risk. Results of the model are broadly consistent with the lending and hedging behavior of the corporate sector in small open economies that recently experienced currency crises. In particular, unlike the predictions of previous work in the literature on currency crises, the model can explain why the collapse of the fixed exchange rate regime in Brazil, in early 1999, caused no major change in the currency composition of debt of the corporate sector.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2008-18.

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    Date of creation: 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-18

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    Keywords: Foreign exchange rates ; Hedging (Finance);

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    1. Bonomo, Marco & Martins, Betina & Pinto, Rodrigo, 2003. "Debt composition and exchange rate balance sheet effect in Brazil: a firm level analysis," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 368-396, December.
    2. Kathryn M.E. Dominguez & Linda L. Tesar, 2001. "A Re-Examination of Exchange Rate Exposure," NBER Working Papers 8128, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Aghion, Philippe & Bacchetta, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2001. "A Corporate Balance Sheet Approach to Currency Crises," CEPR Discussion Papers 3092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Burnside, A Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1999. "Hedging and Financial Fragility in Fixed Exchange Rate Regimes," CEPR Discussion Papers 2171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Martin Schneider & Aaron Tornell, 2000. "Balance SHeet Effects, Bailout Guarantees and Financial Crises," NBER Working Papers 8060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Fukuda, Shin-ichi & Hoshi, Takeo & Ito, Takatoshi & Rose, Andrew, 2006. "International Finance," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 455-458, December.
    7. Jorge A. Chan-Lau, 2005. "Hedging Foreign Exchange Risk in Chile," IMF Working Papers 05/37, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Jose M. Berrospide & Amiyatosh Purnanandam & Uday Rajan, 2008. "Corporate hedging, investment and value," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-16, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. George Allayannis & Gregory W. Brown & Leora F. Klapper, 2003. "Capital Structure and Financial Risk: Evidence from Foreign Debt Use in East Asia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2667-2710, December.
    10. Martinez, Lorenza & Werner, Alejandro, 2002. "The exchange rate regime and the currency composition of corporate debt: the Mexican experience," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 315-334, December.
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