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Foreign currency loans and credit risk: Evidence from U.S. banks

Friederike Niepmann and Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr

Journal of International Economics, 2022, vol. 135, issue C

Abstract: When firms borrow in foreign currency and are not perfectly hedged, exchange rate changes can affect their ability to repay the debt. U.S. loan-level data show that a 10 percent depreciation of the local currency quarter-to-quarter increases the probability that a firm becomes past due on its loans by 42 basis points for firms with foreign currency debt relative to those with local currency debt. This increase is economically significant, given a baseline probability of 20 basis points, and indicates that exchange rate risk of borrowers can translate into credit risk for banks. Firms are more likely to borrow in foreign currency if they belong to industries that generate more income abroad and if a UIP deviation makes foreign currency loans cheaper. The paper establishes additional facts on large U.S. banks’ international corporate loan portfolios, offering a perspective complementary to that provided by syndicated loan data.

Keywords: Cross-border banking; Exchange rates; Credit risk; Corporate loans (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F31 G15 G21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jinteco.2021.103558

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