The Impact of Macroeconomic Factors on Risks in the Banking Sector: A Cross-Country Empirical Assessment
This paper explores the links between macroeconomic conditions and individual bank risk. Using capital adequacy ratios as a broad measure of risk sustainability, a linear mixed effects model for a large international panel of banks for the years 2001-2005 is estimated. In OECD countries, banks tend to hold higher capital ratios during business cycle highs, this effect being even stronger for a subsample of EU banks. In non-OECD countries, periods of higher economic growth are associated with lower capital ratios. This indicates procyclical behavior. Banks accumulate risks more rapidly in economically good times and some of these risks materialize as asset quality deteriorates during subsequent recessions. Furthermore, higher inflation rates are associated with higher capital ratios of banks, implying that inflation-induced economic uncertainty stimulates banks to restrict credit. As far as regulatory and institutional environment is concerned, econometric estimates show that banks in non-OECD countries with deposit insurance tend to be more risky, whereas evidence of a negative relationship between concentration of the banking sector and banks’ risk taking is statistically less robust.
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