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Mr. Federico J Diez, Mr. Romain A Duval, Jiayue Fan, José Garrido, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan, Chiara Maggi, and Mr. Nicola Pierri
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased insolvency risks, especially among small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are vastly overrepresented in hard-hit sectors. Without government intervention, even firms that are viable a priori could end up being liquidated—particularly in sectors characterized by labor-intensive technologies, threatening both macroeconomic and social stability. This staff discussion note assesses the impact of the pandemic on SME insolvency risks and policy options to address them. It quantifies the impact of weaker aggregate demand, changes in sectoral consumption patterns, and lockdowns on firm balance sheets and estimates the impact of a range of policy options, for a large sample of SMEs in (mostly) advanced economies.
Carlos Caceres, Diego A. Cerdeiro, Dan Pan, and Suchanan Tambunlertchai
This paper analyzes a group of 755 firms, with aggregate indebtedness of US$6.2 trillion, to assess the solvency risks and liquidity needs facing the U.S. corporate sector based on projections of net income, availability and cost of funding, and debt servicing flows under different stress test scenarios. The paper finds that leveraged corporates account for most of the potential losses arising from the macroeconomic stresses associated with the COVID-19 crisis, with a concentration of these losses in the oil and gas, auto, and capital and durable goods manufacturing sectors. However, potential losses from corporate debt write-downs appear to be a fraction of banks’ capital buffers and, given the size of the leveraged segment and the relatively long duration of that sector’s debt, the near-term liquidity needs of these corporates appear modest. Corporate stresses could, however, amplify the current economic downturn—as firms cut investment spending and reduce employment—potentially giving rise to significant indirect losses for the financial system.
Germán Gutiérrez, Callum Jones, and Mr. Thomas Philippon
We combine a structural model with cross-sectional micro data to identify the causes and consequences of rising concentration in the US economy. Using asset prices and industry data, we estimate realized and anticipated shocks that drive entry and concentration. We validate our approach by showing that the model-implied entry shocks correlate with independently constructed measures of entry regulations and M&As. We conclude that entry costs have risen in the U.S. over the past 20 years and have depressed capital and consumption by about seven percent.
Mr. Sergi Lanau
This paper examines the effects of improvements in infrastrucutre on sectoral growth and firm-level investment, focusing on six Latin American countries. Exploiting the heterogeneity in the quality of infrastructure across countries and the intrinsic variation in the dependence of sectors on infrastructure, I find that better infrastructure raises growth and investment. Improved infrastructure could yield large economic benefits. For example, if the quality of infrastructure in Colombia increased to the sample median (Czech Republic), GDP growth would increase by about 0.1 percentage points.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This Technical Note discusses the findings and recommendations made in the Financial Sector Assessment Program for Ireland in the areas of nonbank sector stability. Both nonparametric and parametric methods suggest that the residential real estate market in Ireland is close to or moderately below its equilibrium level. Two standard metrics of price-to-income and price-to-rent ratios show that following a protracted period of overvaluation prior to the crisis and a correction afterward, the market has been close to its equilibrium level in recent quarters. Households have deleveraged, but are still highly indebted. The stability analysis results also suggest that vulnerabilities among nonfinancial firms have moderated in recent years.
Ms. Chie Aoyagi and Mr. Giovanni Ganelli
Japan’s high corporate savings might be holding back growth. We focus on the causes and consequences of the current corporate behavior and suggest options for reform. In particular, Japan’s weak corporate governance—as measured by available indexes—might be contributing to high cash holdings. Our empirical analysis on a panel of Japanese firms confirms that improving corporate governance would help unlock corporate savings. The main policy implication of our analysis is that comprehensive corporate governance reform should be a key component of Japan’s growth strategy.
Ruud A. de Mooij
Staff Discussion Notes showcase the latest policy-related analysis and research being developed by individual IMF staff and are published to elicit comment and to further debate. These papers are generally brief and written in nontechnical language, and so are aimed at a broad audience interested in economic policy issues. This Web-only series replaced Staff Position Notes in January 2011.
Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Ms. Jianping Zhou, Vanessa Le Leslé, and Michael Moore
The causes of the global financial crisis were multi-faceted but revealed still unresolved weaknesses in national and international financial oversight and resolution frameworks. In particular, many governments in the crisis-hit countries had to provide unprecedented levels of support to contain the crisis and protect financial stability. These interventions have not only contributed to a significant increase in sovereign exposures but, in many countries, they have also risked weakening market discipline and worsening moral hazard.
Yishay Yafeh, Mr. Kenichi Ueda, and Mr. Stijn Claessens
Financial frictions have been identified as key factors affecting economic fluctuations and growth. But, can institutional reforms reduce financial frictions? Based on a canonical investment model, we consider two potential channels: (i) financial transaction costs at the firm level; and (ii) required return at the country level. We empirically investigate the effects of institutions on these financial frictions using a panel of 75,000 firm-years across 48 countries for the period 1990 - 2007. We find that improved corporate governance (e.g., less informational problems) and enhanced contractual enforcement reduce financial frictions, while stronger creditor rights (e.g., lower collateral constraints) are less important.
Ms. Hiroko Oura
This paper examines the efficiency of the different segments of India's financial system using firm-level data on corporate financing patterns. Firms are increasingly relying on external funds to finance their investment in most recent years. Empirical analyses indicate that (1) the financial system in India is not channeling funds into industries with higher external finance dependence; (2) the debt financing system does not allocate funds according to firms' external finance dependence, while equity financing system does; and (3) firms in an industry that are more dependent on external finance grow more slowly.