The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Using data from Argentina, Australia, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru, and the United States, we identify three types of threshold effects when assessing the impact of economic activity on nonperforming loans (NPLs). For advanced financial systems showing low NPLs, there is an embedded self-correcting adjustment when NPLs exceed a minimum threshold. For financial systems in emerging markets in Latin America showing higher NPLs, there is instead a magnifying effect once NPLs cross a (higher) threshold. GDP growth apparently affects NPLs only below a certain threshold, which is consistent with observed lower elasticity of credit risk to changes in economic activity in boom periods.