The China Syndrome Affects Banks: The Credit Supply Channel of Foreign Import Competition (Updated February 2020)
60 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019 Last revised: 26 Feb 2020
Date Written: February 25, 2020
Did the rise of Chinese import competition in the early 2000s affect banks’ credit supply policies? Using bank-firm-level data on the universe of Spanish corporate loans, we find that banks rebalanced their loan portfolios away from firms facing Chinese import competition and towards profitable firms in non-exposed sectors. Banks supplied more credit also to the construction sector, yet independently of firms’ profitability. This is not due to banks’ exposure to the housing boom. Rather, the high geographical concentration of the manufacturing industries competing with China left local banks with fewer alternatives to local construction firms for rebalancing their loan portfolios. The portfolio rebalancing had large real effects: it depressed further the economic activity of firms competing with Chinese imports, and contributed to the construction sector boom of the early 2000s.
Keywords: trade shock, credit register, banks’ portfolio reallocation, bank loans, real effects
JEL Classification: G21, G32, F65
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