What drives credit dollarization in transition economies?
This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the use of foreign currencies in the lending activities of banks in transition economies. The impact of bank and firm variables on credit dollarization is studied in an optimal portfolio allocation model and estimated using new aggregate data for 21 transition economies for the period 1990-2003. Empirical results provide evidence that credit dollarization is the combined outcome of domestic deposit dollarization and banks' desire for currency-matched portfolios beyond regulatory requirements. The effects of international financial factors and natural hedges are less robust across alternative specifications. The paper further discusses the role of regulations in affecting the impact of these factors on credit dollarization and calls for more developed domestic forward foreign exchange markets.
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