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Lessons Unlearned? Corporate Debt in Emerging Markets

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  • Laura Alfaro
  • Gonzalo Asis
  • Anusha Chari
  • Ugo Panizza

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Alfaro & Gonzalo Asis & Anusha Chari & Ugo Panizza, 2017. "Lessons Unlearned? Corporate Debt in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 23407, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23407
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2014. "This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(2), pages 1065-1188, November.
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    3. 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.
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    5. repec:eee:inecon:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:191-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
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    16. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Yi Huang & Ugo Panizza & Richard Portes, 2018. "Corporate Foreign Bond Issuance and Interfirm Loans in China," NBER Working Papers 24513, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. M. Ayhan Kose & Sergio Kurlat & Franziska Ohnsorge & Naotaka Sugawara, 2017. "A Cross-Country Database of Fiscal Space," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1713, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    3. Daniel O. Beltran & Keshav Garud & Aaron Rosenblum, 2017. "Emerging Market Nonfinancial Corporate Debt : How Concerned Should We Be?," IFDP Notes 2017-06-01, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill

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