On Corporate Borrowing, Credit Spreads and Economic Activity in Emerging Economies: An Empirical Investigation
50 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2017 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 17, 2017
We document a considerable increase in foreign financing by the corporate sector in emerging economies (EMEs) since the early 2000s, mainly in the form of bond issuance, and claim that it has opened up an important channel by which external financial factors can drive economic activity in these economies. Such claim is substantiated by a strong negative relationship between economic activity and an external financial indicator that we construct for several EMEs using micro-level data on spreads of bonds issued by EMEs’ corporations in foreign capital markets. Three salient features characterize such a negative relationship. First, the financial indicator has considerable predictive power on future economic activity in these economies, even after controlling for other potential drivers of economic activity such as movements in sovereign risk and global financial risk, among others. Second, on average, an identified adverse shock to the financial indicator generates a large and protracted fall of real output growth in these economies, and between 11 to 20 percent of its forecast error variance is associated to this shock. Lastly, fluctuations in this indicator also respond strongly to shocks in global financial risk emanating from world capital markets, thereby implying that changes of our indicator also serve as a powerful propagating mechanism to changes in global investors’ appetite for risk.
Keywords: Corporate bond issuance, spreads, economic activity, emerging economies
JEL Classification: E32, E37, F34, F37, G15
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