IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Foreign Currency Borrowing by Small Firms

  • Brown, Martin
  • Ongena, Steven
  • Yesin, Pinar

We examine the firm- and country-level determinants of the currency denomination of small business loans. We first model the choice of loan currency in a framework which features a trade-off between lower cost of debt and the risk of firm-level distress costs, and also incorporates the impact of information asymmetry between banks and firms. When foreign currency funds come at a lower interest rate, all foreign currency earners as well as those local currency earners with high revenues and low distress costs choose foreign currency loans. When the banks have imperfect information on the currency and level of firm revenues, even more local earners switch to foreign currency loans, as they do not bear the full cost of the corresponding credit risk. We then test the implications of our model by using a 2005 survey with responses from 9,098 firms in 26 transition countries. The survey contains details on 3,105 recent bank loans. At the firm level, our findings suggest that firms with foreign currency income and assets are more likely to borrow in a foreign currency. In contrast, firm-level distress costs and financial transparency affect the currency denomination only weakly. At the country level, the interest rate advantages of foreign currency funds and the exchange rate volatility do not explain the foreign currency borrowing in our sample. However, foreign bank presence, weak corporate governance and the absence of capital controls encourage foreign currency borrowing. All in all, we cannot confirm that "carry-trade behavior" is the key driver of foreign currency borrowing by small firms in transition economies. Our results do, however, support the conjecture that banking-sector structures and institutions that aggravate information asymmetries may facilitate foreign currency borrowing.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7540.

in new window

Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7540
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1994. "What Do We Know About Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," NBER Working Papers 4875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Michael M. Knetter, 1997. "Goods Prices and Exchange Rates: What Have We Learned?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1243-1272, September.
  3. Bill Francis & Iftekhar Hasan & Delroy Hunter, 2002. "Emerging market liberalization and the impact on uncovered interest rate parity," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2002-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Booth, L. & Asli Demirgu-Kunt, V.A. & Maksimovic, V., 1999. "Capital Structure in Developing Countries," Rotman School of Management - Finance 00-001, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.
  5. Enrica Detragiache & Poonam Gupta & Thierry Tressel, 2006. "Foreign Banks in Poor Countries: Theory and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 06/18, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Guillermo A. Calvo, 2001. "Capital markets and the exchange rate with special reference to the dollarization debate in Latin America," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 312-338.
  7. Brown, M. & Ongena, S. & Yesin, P., 2008. "Currency Denomination of Bank Loans : Evidence from Small Firms in Transition Countries," Discussion Paper 2008-16, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  9. Dollar, David & Hallward-Driemeier, Mary, 2000. "Crisis, Adjustment, and Reform in Thailand's Industrial Firms," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 1-22, February.
  10. Degryse, Hans & Ongena, Steven, 2007. "The impact of competition on bank orientation," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 399-424, July.
  11. Matti Keloharju & Mervi Niskanen, 2001. "Why Do Firms Raise Foreign Currency Denominated Debt? Evidence from Finland," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 7(4), pages 481-496.
  12. Graham, John R. & Harvey, Campbell R., 2001. "The theory and practice of corporate finance: evidence from the field," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 187-243, May.
  13. Steven A. Sharpe, 1989. "Asymmetric information, bank lending, and implicit contracts: a stylized model of customer relationships," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 70, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Simi Kedia & Abon Mozumdar, 2003. "Foreign Currency Denominated Debt: An Empirical Examination," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76(4), pages 521-546, October.
  15. Ephraim Clark & Amrit Judge, 2008. "The Determinants of Foreign Currency Hedging: Does Foreign Currency Debt Induce a Bias?," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 14(3), pages 445-469.
  16. Giannetti, Mariassunta & Ongena, Steven, 2012. "“Lending by example”: Direct and indirect effects of foreign banks in emerging markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 167-180.
  17. Allayannis, George & Ofek, Eli, 2001. "Exchange rate exposure, hedging, and the use of foreign currency derivatives," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 273-296, April.
  18. Martin Brown & Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 2007. "Information Sharing and Credit: Firm-Level Evidence from Transition Countries," CSEF Working Papers 178, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  19. Esho, Neil & Sharpe, Ian G. & Webster, Kristian H., 2007. "Hedging and choice of currency denomination in international syndicated loan markets," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 195-212, April.
  20. Charles Engel, 2005. "Equivalence Results for Optimal Pass-Through, Optimal Indexing to Exchange Rates, and Optimal Choice of Currency for Export Pricing," NBER Working Papers 11209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Mariassunta Giannetti & Steven Ongena, 2009. "Financial Integration and Firm Performance: Evidence from Foreign Bank Entry in Emerging Markets," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 13(2), pages 181-223.
  22. Benavente, Jose Miguel & Johnson, Christian A. & Morande, Felipe G., 2003. "Debt composition and balance sheet effects of exchange rate depreciations: a firm-level analysis for Chile," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 397-416, December.
  23. Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan, 1997. "Can Relationship Banking Survive Competition?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1592, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Diamond, Douglas W, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414, July.
  25. Basso, Henrique S. & Calvo-Gonzalez, Oscar & Jurgilas, Marius, 2007. "Financial dollarization: the role of banks and interest rates," Working Paper Series 0748, European Central Bank.
  26. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  27. Kevin Cowan & Erwin Hansen & Luis Oscar Herrera, 2005. "Currency Mismatches, Balance Sheet Effects and Hedging in Chilean non-Financial Corporations," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 346, Central Bank of Chile.
  28. Alper, C. Emre & Ardic, Oya Pinar & Fendoglu, Salih, 2007. "The Economics of Uncovered Interest Parity Condition for Emerging Markets: A Survey," MPRA Paper 4079, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  29. Martin Brown & Maria Rueda Maurer & Tamara Pak & Nurlanbek Tynaev, 2007. "Banking Sector Reform and Interest Rates in Transition Economies: Bank-Level Evidence from Kyrgyzstan," Working Papers 2007-07, Swiss National Bank.
  30. H Rey, 1997. "International Trade and Currency Exchange," CEP Discussion Papers dp0322, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  31. Goswami, Gautam & Shrikhande, Milind M., 2001. "Economic exposure and debt financing choice," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 39-58, February.
  32. N. Berger, Allen & F. Udell, Gregory, 1998. "The economics of small business finance: The roles of private equity and debt markets in the financial growth cycle," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(6-8), pages 613-673, August.
  33. Egli, Dominik & Ongena, Steven & Smith, David C., 2006. "On the sequencing of projects, reputation building, and relationship finance," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 23-39, March.
  34. Pagano, Marco & Jappelli, Tullio, 1993. " Information Sharing in Credit Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1693-1718, December.
  35. Engel, Charles, 1996. "The forward discount anomaly and the risk premium: A survey of recent evidence," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 123-192, June.
  36. Luca, Alina & Petrova, Iva, 2008. "What drives credit dollarization in transition economies?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 858-869, May.
  37. Elsas, Ralf, 2005. "Empirical determinants of relationship lending," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 32-57, January.
  38. Froot, Kenneth A & Scharfstein, David S & Stein, Jeremy C, 1993. " Risk Management: Coordinating Corporate Investment and Financing Policies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 48(5), pages 1629-58, December.
  39. Ernst-Ludwig VON THADDEN, 1998. "Asymmetric Information, Bank Lending and Implicit Contracts : The Winner's Curse," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9809, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  40. Mian, Shehzad L., 1996. "Evidence on Corporate Hedging Policy," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 419-439, September.
  41. Besancenot, Damien & Vranceanu, Radu, 2004. "Excessive Liability Dollarization in a Simple Signaling Model," ESSEC Working Papers DR 04001, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.
  42. 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.
  43. Brown, Gregory W., 2001. "Managing foreign exchange risk with derivatives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2-3), pages 401-448, May.
  44. Jeanne, Olivier, 2000. "Foreign currency debt and the global financial architecture," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 719-727, May.
  45. Katharina Pistor & Martin Raiser & Stanislav Gelfer, 2000. "Law and finance in transition economies," Working Papers 48, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Office of the Chief Economist.
  46. Katharina Pistor & Martin Raiser & Stanislaw Gelfer, 2000. "Law and Finance in Transition Economies," CID Working Papers 49, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  47. Katharina Pistor & Martin Raiser & Stanislaw Gelfer, 2000. "Law and Finance in Transition Economies," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(2), pages 325-368, July.
  48. Van de Ven, Wynand P. M. M. & Van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1981. "The demand for deductibles in private health insurance : A probit model with sample selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 229-252, November.
  49. Ize, Alain & Yeyati, Eduardo Levy, 2003. "Financial dollarization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 323-347, March.
  50. Gaston Gelos, R., 2003. "Foreign currency debt in emerging markets: firm-level evidence from Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 323-327, March.
  51. Stulz, René M., 1984. "Optimal Hedging Policies," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(02), pages 127-140, June.
  52. Jeremy C. Stein, 2002. "Information Production and Capital Allocation: Decentralized versus Hierarchical Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(5), pages 1891-1921, October.
  53. Gabriele Galati & Alexandra Heath & Patrick McGuire, 2007. "Evidence of carry trade activity," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
  54. Friberg, Richard & Wilander, Fredrik, 2008. "The currency denomination of exports -- A questionnaire study," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 54-69, May.
  55. Jean-Marie Viaene & Casper Vries, 1992. "On the design of invoicing practices in international trade," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 133-142, June.
  56. Galindo, Arturo & Panizza, Ugo & Schiantarelli, Fabio, 2003. "Debt composition and balance sheet effects of currency depreciation: a summary of the micro evidence," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 330-339, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7540. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.