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Market conditions, default risk and credit spreads

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  • Tang, Dragon Yongjun
  • Yan, Hong

Abstract

This study empirically examine the impact of market conditions on credit spreads as motivated by recently developed structural credit risk models. Using credit default swap (CDS) spreads, we find that, in the time series, average credit spreads are decreasing in GDP growth rate, but increasing in GDP growth volatility. We document that credit spreads are lower when investor sentiment is high and when the systematic jump risk is low. In the cross section, we confirm that firm-level cash flow volatility raises credit spreads. More importantly, we demonstrate that the impact of market conditions on credit spreads is substantially affected by firm heterogeneity. During economic expansions, ceteris paribus, firms with high cash flow betas have lower credit spreads than those with low cash flow betas. This relation disappears during economic recessions, consistent with theoretical predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Tang, Dragon Yongjun & Yan, Hong, 2008. "Market conditions, default risk and credit spreads," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2008,08, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp2:7318
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    Keywords

    Credit Risk; Credit Default Swaps; Credit Spreads; Market Conditions;

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

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