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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Martins, Betina Guimarães Dodsworth & Pinto, Rodrigo Ribeiro Antunes & Bonomo, Marco Antônio Cesar, 2004. "Debt composition and exchange rate balance sheet effects in Brazil: a firm level analysis," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 535, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).
  • Handle: RePEc:fgv:epgewp:535

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    2. Terra, Maria Cristina Trindade, 2003. "Credit Constraints in Brazilian Firms: Evidence from Panel Data," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil), vol. 57(2), April.
    3. Ben S. Bernanke & Mark Gertler, 1995. "Inside the Black Box: The Credit Channel of Monetary Policy Transmission," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 27-48, Fall.
    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. Aghion, Philippe & Bacchetta, Philippe & Banerjee, Abhijit, 2001. "Currency crises and monetary policy in an economy with credit constraints," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1121-1150.
    6. Bernanke, Ben S. & Gertler, Mark & Gilchrist, Simon, 1999. "The financial accelerator in a quantitative business cycle framework," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.),Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 21, pages 1341-1393, Elsevier.
    7. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average q: A Neoclassical Interpretation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 213-224, January.
    8. 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.
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