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International Trade, Risk and the Role of Banks

  • Friederike Niepmann
  • Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

Banks play a critical role in international trade by providing trade finance products that reduce the risk of exporting. This paper employs two new data sets to shed light on the magnitude and structure of this business, which, as we show, is highly concentrated in a few large banks. The two principal trade finance instruments, letters of credit and documentary collections, covered about 10 percent of U.S. exports in 2012. They are preferred for larger transactions, which indicates the existence of substantial fixed costs in the provision and use of these instruments. Letters of credit are employed the most for exports to countries with intermediate degrees of contract enforcement. Compared to documentary collections, they are used for riskier destinations. We provide a model of payment contract choice that rationalizes these empirical findings and discuss implications for the ongoing provision of trade finance.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2014/wp-cesifo-2014-04/cesifo1_wp4761.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4761.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4761
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  1. Thomas William Dorsey & Mika Saito & Armine Khachatryan & Irena Asmundson & Ioana Niculcea, 2011. "Trade and Trade Finance in the 2008-20+L460609 Financial Crisis," IMF Working Papers 11/16, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Galina Hale & Christopher Candelaria & Julian Caballero & Sergey Borisov, 2013. "Bank linkages and international trade," Working Paper Series 2013-14, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  3. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  4. Paravisini, Daniel & Rappoport, Veronica & Schnabl, Philipp & Wolfenzon, Daniel, 2010. "Dissecting the Effect of Credit Supply on Trade: Evidence from Matched Credit-Export Data," Working Papers 2010-022, Banco Central de Reserva del Perú.
  5. Hummels, David, 2001. "Time as a Trade Barrier," GTAP Working Papers 1152, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  6. Beck, Thorsten, 2001. "Financial development and international trade : is there a link?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2608, The World Bank.
  7. Niepmann, Friederike, 2013. "Banking across borders," Discussion Papers 19/2013, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  8. Nathan Nunn, 2005. "Relationship Specificity, Incomplete Contracts and the Pattern of Trade," International Trade 0512018, EconWPA.
  9. Andreas Hoefele & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr & Zihong Yu, 2013. "Payment Choice in International Trade: Theory and Evidence from Cross-country Firm Level Data," Discussion Paper Series 2013_11, Department of Economics, Loughborough University, revised Oct 2013.
  10. de Sousa, J. & Mayer, T. & Zignago, S., 2011. "Market access in global and regional trade," Working papers 358, Banque de France.
  11. Felici Roberto & Pagnini Marcello, 2005. "Distance, bank heterogeneity and entry in local banking markets," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 557, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  12. Silvia Del Prete & Stefano Federico, 2014. "Trade and finance: is there more than just 'trade finance'? Evidence from matched bank-firm data," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 948, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  13. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2009. "Firm heterogeneity and the structure of U.S. multinational activity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 206-215, July.
  14. JaeBin Ahn, 2011. "A Theory of Domestic and International Trade Finance," IMF Working Papers 11/262, International Monetary Fund.
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