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Foreign currency borrowing surrounding the global financial crisis: Evidence from Korea

Sung C. Bae, Hyeon Sook Kim and Taek Ho Kwon

Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, 2020, vol. 47, issue 5-6, 786-817

Abstract: We present a complete profile of firms’ foreign currency borrowing surrounding the 2007 global financial crisis. Employing extensive data from Korean firms during 2002–2012, we find that foreign currency borrowing is significantly related to firm attributes of export revenues, firm size, tangible assets and asset growth, as well as to macro‐level factors. These results offer two important implications. First, macroeconomic factors alone cannot fully explain firms’ foreign currency borrowing. Second and more importantly, these firm attributes are indicative of a lower default probability and larger collateral value, which would not only facilitate borrowers’ access to foreign currency debt markets but also offer lenders a better protective cushion from possible loan defaults in the face of exchange rate changes and information asymmetry on borrowers’ credits. Period wise, asset‐related firm attributes have more pronounced effects in the post‐ than pre‐crisis period. We further show that banking regulations following the crisis effectively limit the access to foreign currency borrowing by Korean firms, most significantly by those belonging to large business groups.

Date: 2020
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