In recent years, firms in emerging market countries have increased borrowing, particularly in foreign currency, owing to easy access to global capital markets, prolonged low interest rates and good investment opportunities. This paper discusses the trends in emerging market corporate debt and leverage, and illustrates how those firms are vulnerable to interest rate, exchange rate and earnings shocks. The results of a stress test show that while corporate sector risk remains moderate in most emerging economies, a combination of macroeconomic and financial shocks could significantly erode firms’ ability to service debt and lead to higher debt at risk, especially in countries with high shares of foreign currency debt and low natural hedges.
Mr. Paul R Masson, Mr. Timothy D. Lane, and Ms. Padma Gotur
This series aims to make available to the general public and to economic policy practitioners, a selection of policy papers prepared by the staff of the International Monetary Fund. Papers in the International Economic Policy Review will offer specific policy-relevant analysis, but at a relatively non-technical level. These papers are intended to provide analytical background for IMF-supported programs and more generally to shed light on a range of policy choices facing ministries and central banks.