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Debt composition and exchange rate balance sheet effects in Brazil: A firm level analysis

  • Martins, Betina Guimarães Dodsworth
  • Pinto, Rodrigo Ribeiro Antunes
  • Bonomo, Marco Antônio Cesar

In this paper we study the interaction between macroeconomic environment and firms’ balance sheet effects in Brazil during the 1990’s. We start by assessing the influence of macroeconomic conditions on firms’ debt composition in Brazil. We found that larger firms tend to change debt currency composition more in response to a change in the exchange rate risk than small firms. We then proceed to investigate if and how exchange rate balance sheet effects affected the firms’ investment decisions. We test directly the exchange rate balance sheet effect on investment. Contrary to earlier findings (Bleakley and Cowan, 2002), we found that firms more indebted in foreign currency tend to invest less when there is an exchange rate devaluation. We tried different controls for the competitiveness effect. First, we control directly for the effect of the exchange rate on exports and imported inputs. We then pursue an alternative investigation strategy, inspired by the credit channel literature. According to this perspective, Tobin’s q can provide an adequate control for the competitiveness effect on investment. Our results provide supporting evidence for imperfect capital markets, and for a negative exchange rate balance sheet effect in Brazil. The results concerning the exchange rate balance sheet effect on investment are statistically significant and robust across the different specifications. We tested the results across different periods, classified according to the macroeconomic environment. Our findings suggest that the negative exchange rate balance sheet effect we found in the whole sample is due to the floating exchange rate period. We also found that exchange rate devaluations have important negative impact on both cash flows and sales of indebted firms. Furthermore, the impact of exchange rate variations is asymmetric, and the significant effect detected when no asymmetry is imposed is engendered by exchange rate devaluations.

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Paper provided by FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil) in its series Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) with number 535.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:535
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  1. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  2. Bernanke, B. & Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1998. "The Financial Accelerator in a Quantitative Business Cycle Framework," Working Papers 98-03, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  3. Philippe Aghion & Philippe Bacchetta & Abhijit Banerjee, 2000. "Currency Crises and Monetary Policy in an Economy with Credit Constraints," Working Papers 00.07, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.
  4. Kristin J Forbes, 2002. "How Do Large Depreciations Affect Firm Performance?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 49(Special i), pages 214-238.
  5. Terra, Maria Cristina Trindade, 2003. "Credit Constraints in Brazilian Firms: Evidence from Panel Data," Revista Brasileira de Economia, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 57(2), April.
  6. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Bernanke, Ben & Gertler, Mark, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Working Papers 95-15, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
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