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Lessons Unlearned? Corporate Debt in Emerging Markets

Listed author(s):
  • Laura Alfaro
  • Gonzalo Asis
  • Anusha Chari
  • Ugo Panizza

This paper documents a set of new stylized facts about leverage and financial fragility for emerging market firms following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Corporate debt vulnerability indicators during the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) attributed to corporate financial roots provide a benchmark for comparison. Firm-level data show that post-GFC, emerging market corporate balance sheet indicators have not deteriorated to AFC crisis-country levels. However, more countries are close to or in the “vulnerable” range of Altman’s Z-score, and average leverage for the entire emerging market sample is higher in the post-GFC period than during the AFC. Regression estimates suggest that the relationship between leverage, exchange rate depreciations, and corporate financial distress is time varying. Also, a central finding is that firm size is correlated with corporate distress and, further, that currency depreciations amplify the impact of leverage on financial vulnerability for large firms during a crisis. Consistent with Gabaix (2011) the paper finds a granularity effect in that large firms are systemically important—idiosyncratic shocks to the sales growth of large firms significantly correlate with GDP growth in our emerging markets sample. Relatedly, the sales growth of large firms with higher leverage is more adversely impacted by exchange rate shocks. While this result holds for the average country in our sample, there is substantial cross-country heterogeneity.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23407.

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Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23407
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  1. Marco Terrones & Enrique G. Mendoza, 2008. "An Anatomy of Credit Booms; Evidence From Macro Aggregates and Micro Data," IMF Working Papers 08/226, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Hoyt Bleakley & Kevin Cowan, 2008. "Corporate Dollar Debt and Depreciations: Much Ado About Nothing?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 612-626, November.
  3. 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.
  4. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "Varieties of Crises and Their Dates," Introductory Chapters,in: This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Princeton University Press.
  5. Anusha Chari & Peter Blair Henry, 2015. "Two Tales of Adjustment: East Asian Lessons for European Growth," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 63(1), pages 164-196, May.
  6. Caballero, Julian & Panizza, Ugo & Powell, Andrew, 2015. "The second wave of global liquidity: Why are firms acting like financial intermediaries?," CEPR Discussion Papers 10926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Pesenti, Paolo & Roubini, Nouriel, 1999. "What caused the Asian currency and financial crisis?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 305-373, October.
  8. Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "The Granular Origins of Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 733-772, 05.
  9. Allayannis, George & Weston, James P, 2001. "The Use of Foreign Currency Derivatives and Firm Market Value," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 243-276.
  10. 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.
  11. Reinhart, Karmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. ""This time is different": panorama of eight centuries of financial crises," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 77-114, March.
  12. Altman, Edward I., 2005. "An emerging market credit scoring system for corporate bonds," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 311-323, December.
  13. Robert Neil McCauley & Patrick McGuire & Vladyslav Sushko, 2015. "Dollar credit to emerging market economies," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
  14. repec:oup:rfinst:v:30:y:2017:i:3:p:703-749. is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Valentina Bruno & Hyun Song Shin, 2017. "Global Dollar Credit and Carry Trades: A Firm-Level Analysis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 30(3), pages 703-749.
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