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The Penetration of Financial Instability in Agricultural Credit and Leveraging

  • Pietola, Kyösti
  • Myyrä, Sami
  • Heikkilä, Anna-Maija

This paper describes the aggregate rural capital markets of the EU and the main differences between the markets of its member countries. The results of our study suggest that the agricultural credit markets are still quite segmented and the segments are country- rather than currency- or region-specific. Financial instability in Europe is also penetrating the agricultural sector and the variation of interest rates for agricultural credit is increasing across countries. Perhaps the most dramatic signal of growing financial instability is that the financial leverage (gearing rate) of European farms rose in 2008 by almost 4 percentage points, from 14 to 18%. The 4 percentage-point annual rise was twice the 2 percentage-point rise observed during the economic recession in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The distribution of the financial leverage of agriculture across countries does not, however, reflect the distribution of country-specific risk premiums in the manner that they are observed in government bond yields. Therefore, in those countries that have the weakest financial situation in the public sector and in which the bond markets are encumbered with high country-specific risk premiums, the agricultural sector is not directly exposed to a very large risk of increasing interest rates, since it is not so highly leveraged. For example in Greek and Spanish agriculture, the financial leverage (gearing) rate is only 0.6% and 2.2% respectively, while the highest gearing rates are found elsewhere (in Denmark), reaching 50%.

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Paper provided by Centre for European Policy Studies in its series Factor Markets Working Papers with number 97.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eps:fmwppr:97
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  1. Stéphane Blancard & Jean-Philippe Boussemart & Walter Briec & Kristiaan Kerstens, 2005. "Short- and Long-Run Credit Constraints in French Agriculture: A Directional Distance Function Framework Using Expenditure-Constrained Profit Functions," Working Papers 2005-ECO-02, IESEG School of Management.
  2. Pavel Ciaian & Johan F.M. Swinnen, 2007. "Credit Market Imperfections and the Distribution of Policy Rents: The Common Agricultural Policy in the New EU Member States," LICOS Discussion Papers 18307, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
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  4. Bester, H., 1990. "The Role Of Collateral In A Model Of Debt Renegotiation," Papers 9060, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
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  7. Carter, Michael R., 1988. "Equilibrium credit rationing of small farm agriculture," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 83-103, February.
  8. Ciaian, Pavel & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2008. "Credit Market Imperfections and the Distribution of Policy Rents," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44050, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  9. Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan V & Udell, Gregory F, 1991. "Secured Lending and Default Risk: Equilibrium Analysis, Policy Implications and Empirical Results," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(406), pages 458-72, May.
  10. Boucher, Steve & Carter, Micheal R. & Guirkinger, Catherine, 2005. "Risk Rationing and Wealth Effects in Credit Markets," Working Papers 190912, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  11. V. Eldon Ball & W. A. Lindamood & Richard Nehring & Carlos San Juan Mesonada, 2008. "Capital as a factor of production in OECD agriculture: measurement and data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(10), pages 1253-1277.
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