Risk Taking and Interest Rates: Evidence from Decades in the Global Syndicated Loan Market
Posted: 15 Jan 2017
Date Written: 2017-01
We study how low interest rates in the United States affect risk taking in the market for cross-border corporate loans. Because banks tend to originate these loans with intent to sell to nonbank investors, we examine risk taking by the broad financial system. To the extent that actions of the Federal Reserve affect U.S. interest rates, our analysis provides evidence of cross-border spillover effects of U.S. monetary policy and highlights the global lending and risk-taking channels. We find that movements in the U.S. interest rates have an important effect on ex-ante credit risk of cross-border corporate loans, though the channels are different in the pre- and post-crisis periods. Before the crisis, banks made ex-ante riskier loans to non-U.S. borrowers in response to a decline in U.S. short-term interest rates, and, after it, banks and nonbanks originated such loans in response to a decline in U.S. longer-term interest rates. Economic uncertainty, risk appetite, and the U.S. dollar exchange rate appear to play a limited role in explaining ex-ante credit risk. Our results highlight the potential policy challenges faced by central banks in affecting credit risk cycles in their own jurisdictions.
Keywords: Syndicated loans, Risk taking, Monetary policy, International spillovers
JEL Classification: E44, E52, F30, F42, G15, G20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation