International Bank Portfolios: Short- and Long-Run Responses to Macroeconomic Conditions

International bank portfolios constitute a large component of international country portfolios. Yet, banks’ response to international macroeconomic conditions remains largely unexplored.We use a novel dataset on banks’ international portfolios to answer three questions. First, what are the long-run determinants of banks’ international portfolios? Second, how do banks’ international portfolios adjust to short-run macroeconomic developments? Third, does the speed of adjustment change with the degree of financial integration?We find that, in the long-run, market size has a positive impact on foreign assets and liabilities. An increase in the interest differential between the home and the foreign economy lowers foreign assets and increases foreign liabilities. Foreign trade has a positive impact on international bank portfolios, which is independent from the effect of other macroeconomic variables. Short-run dynamics show heterogeneity across countries, but these dynamics can partly be explained with gravity-type variables.

15. May 2010

Authors S. Blank Claudia M. Buch

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