Corporate Financial Policies and Performance Around Currency Crises
60 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2001
Date Written: March 2002
Using data from 20 countries that have suffered a currency crisis, this paper studies firm-level leverage and performance before and after a crisis has occurred. First we provide some evidence of increasing leverage both before and after a crisis. We show that, in the years preceding a currency crisis, companies that benefit from currency depreciations increase their leverage more than companies that are harmed by currency depreciations. These findings do not hold for countries with either floating exchange rates or currency boards. We argue that increasing leverage is a sign that some firms behave strategically towards governments that lack commintment mechanisms not to devalue their currencies. We also provide evidence that the Asian crisis is different from the previous European and Latin American ones: in Asia firms become more fragile after the crisis and their profitability declines further, whereas in Europe and Latin America there are clear signs of recovery after a crisis has occurred.
Keywords: Currency Crises, Corporate Leverage, Capital Structure, Profitability, Exchange Rates
JEL Classification: F3, F4, G3
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation