Financial Market Structure and Financial Stability
This research group focuses on the role of financial market structures for financial stability. The recent financial crisis has revealed several new financial vulnerabilities that call for adequate regulatory responses. Sovereign solvency and bank default risk need to be made less interdependent by revising incentive structures propagating the transmission of these financial risks. Adequate regulatory treatment is needed for sovereign bond holdings of banks. The role of central bank transparency for international bank investment and financial stability needs to be understood. In a first workpackage, the impact of banking sector instability on sovereign default risk will be considered. The second workpackage analyses the performance of sovereign bond portfolio management of individual banks – by assessing both ex ante optimality of portfolio diversification as well as ex post risk adjusted returns. A third workpackage focuses on the role of central bank transparency for default risk and portfolio holdings of banks. Two aspects of central bank transparency will be considered: Transparency about monetary policy and transparency about macroprudential regulation.
Research ClusterFinancial Stability and Regulation
01.2017 ‐ 12.2020
The Role of Idiosyncratic and Systemic Bank Risks during the Euro Crisis
What drives the Commodity-Sovereign-Risk-Dependence in Emerging Market Economies?
in: Journal of International Money and Finance, forthcoming
Using daily data for 34 emerging markets in the period 1994–2016, we find robust evidence that higher export commodity prices are associated with lower sovereign default risk, as measured by lower EMBI spreads. The economic effect is especially pronounced for heavy commodity exporters. Examining the drivers, we find that, first, commodity dependence is higher for countries that export large volumes of commodities, whereas other portfolio characteristics like volatility or concentration are less important. Second, commodity-sovereign risk dependence increases in times of recessions and expansionary U.S. monetary policy. Third, the importance of raw material prices for sovereign financing can likely be mitigated if a country improves institutions and tax systems, attracts FDI inflows, invests in manufacturing, machinery and infrastructure, builds up reserve assets and opens capital and trade accounts. Fourth, the country’s government indebtedness or amount of received development assistance appear to be only of secondary importance for commodity dependence.
Bank Market Power and Loan Contracts: Empirical Evidence
in: Economic Notes, forthcoming
Using a sample of syndicated loan facilities granted to US corporate borrowers from 1987 to 2013, we directly gauge the lead banks’ market power, and test its effects on both price and non‐price terms in loan contracts. We find that bank market power is positively correlated with loan spreads, and the positive relation holds for both non‐relationship loans and relationship loans. In particular, we report that, for relationship loans, lending banks charge lower loan price for borrowing firms with lower switching cost. We further employ a framework accommodating the joint determination of loan contractual terms, and document that the lead banks’ market power is positively correlated with collateral and negatively correlated with loan maturity. In addition, we report a significant and negative relationship between banking power and the number of covenants in loan contracts, and the negative relationship is stronger for relationship loans.
Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area
in: Journal of Financial Stability, No. 100763, 2020
While the sovereign-bank loop literature has demonstrated the amplification between sovereign and bank risks in the Euro Area, its econometric identification is vulnerable to reverse causality and omitted variable biases. We address the loop's endogenous nature and isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel by exploiting the global, non-Eurozone related variation in banks’ stock prices. We instrument banking sector stock returns in the Eurozone with exposure-weighted stock market returns from non-Eurozone countries and take further precautions to remove Eurozone-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress to sovereign distress is around 50% smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on endogeneity. Despite the smaller relative magnitude, increasing instrumented bank distress is found to be an economically and statistically significant cause for rising sovereign fragility in the Eurozone.
The Economic Record of the Government and Sovereign Bond and Stock Returns Around National Elections
in: Journal of Banking & Finance, No. 100763, 2020
This paper investigates the role of the fiscal and economic record of the incumbent government in shaping the price response of sovereign bonds and stocks to the election outcome in emerging markets and developed countries. For sovereign bonds in emerging markets, we find robust evidence for higher cumulative abnormal returns (CARs) if a government associated with a relatively low primary fiscal balance is voted out of office compared to elections where the fiscal balance was relatively high. This effect of the incumbent government's fiscal record is significantly more pronounced in the presence of high sovereign default risk and strong political veto players, whereas the quality of institutions does not explain differences in effects for different events. We do not find robust effects of the government's fiscal record for developed countries and stocks.
Banks’ Equity Performance and the Term Structure of Interest Rates
in: Financial Markets, Institutions & Instruments, No. 2, 2020
Using an extensive global sample, this paper investigates the impact of the term structure of interest rates on bank equity returns. Decomposing the yield curve to its three constituents (level, slope and curvature), the paper evaluates the time-varying sensitivity of the bank’s equity returns to these constituents by using a diagonal dynamic conditional correlation multivariate GARCH framework. Evidence reveals that the empirical proxies for the three factors explain the variations in equity returns above and beyond the market-wide effect. More specifically, shocks to the long-term (level) and short-term (slope) factors have a statistically significant impact on equity returns, while those on the medium-term (curvature) factor are less clear-cut. Bank size plays an important role in the sense that exposures are higher for SIFIs and large banks compared to medium and small banks. Moreover, banks exhibit greater sensitivities to all risk factors during the crisis and postcrisis periods compared to the pre-crisis period; though these sensitivities do not differ for market-oriented and bank-oriented financial systems.
Physical Climate Change Risks and the Sovereign Creditworthiness of Emerging Economies
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2020
I show that rising temperatures can detrimentally affect the sovereign creditworthiness of emerging economies. To this end, I collect long-term monthly temperature data of 54 emerging countries. I calculate a country’s temperature deviation from its historical average, which approximates present day climate change trends. Running regressions from 1994m1-2018m12, I find that higher temperature anomalies lower sovereign bond performances (i.e. increase sovereign risk) significantly for countries that are warmer on average and have lower seasonality. The estimated magnitudes suggest that affected countries likely face significant increases in their sovereign borrowing costs if temperatures continue to rise due to climate change. However, results indicate that stronger institutions can make a country more resilient towards temperature shocks, which holds independent of a country’s climate.
What Drives the Commodity-Sovereign-Risk-Dependence in Emerging Market Economies?
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 23, 2019
Using daily data for 34 emerging markets in the period 1994-2016, we find robust evidence that higher export commodity prices are associated with higher sovereign bond returns (indicating lower sovereign risk). The economic effect is especially pronounced for heavy commodity exporters. Examining the drivers, we find, first, that commodity-dependence is higher for countries that export large volumes of volatile commodities and that the effect increases in times of recessions, high inflation, and expansionary U.S. monetary policy. Second, the importance of raw material prices for sovereign financing can likely be mitigated if a country improves institutions and tax systems, attracts FDI inflows, invests in manufacturing, machinery and infrastructure, builds up reserve assets and opens capital and trade accounts. Third, the concentration of commodities within a country’s portfolio, its government indebtedness or amount of received development assistance appear to be only of secondary importance for commodity-dependence.
Avoiding the Fall into the Loop: Isolating the Transmission of Bank-to-Sovereign Distress in the Euro Area and its Drivers
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2018
We isolate the direct bank-to-sovereign distress channel within the eurozone’s sovereign-bank-loop by exploiting the global, non-eurozone related variation in stock prices. We instrument banking sector stock returns in the eurozone with exposure-weighted stock market returns from non-eurozone countries and take further precautions to remove any eurozone crisis-related variation. We find that the transmission of instrumented bank distress, while economically relevant, is significantly smaller than the corresponding coefficient in the unadjusted OLS framework, confirming concerns on reverse causality and omitted variables in previous studies. Furthermore, we show that the spillover of bank distress is significantly stronger for countries with poorer macroeconomic performances, weaker financial sectors and financial regulation and during times of elevated political uncertainty.
Channeling the Iron Ore Super-cycle: The Role of Regional Bank Branch Networks in Emerging Markets
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2018
The role of the financial system to absorb and to intermediate commodity boom induced windfall gains efficiently presents one of the most pressing issues for developing economies. Using an exogenous increase in iron ore prices in March 2005, I analyse the role of regional bank branch networks in Brazil in reallocating capital from affected to non-affected regions. For the period from March 2004 to March 2006, I find that branches directly exposed to this shock by their geographical location experience an increase in deposit growth in the post-shock period relative to non-affected branches. Given that these deposits are not reinvested locally, I further show that branches located in the non-affected region increase lending growth depending on their indirect exposure to the booming regions via their branch network. Even tough, these results provide evidence against a Dutch Disease type crowding out of the non-iron ore sector, further evidence suggests that this capital reallocation is far from being optimal.
Time-varying Volatility, Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policy
in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2016
We document that expansionary monetary policy shocks are less effective at stimulating output and investment in periods of high volatility compared to periods of low volatility, using a regime-switching vector autoregression. Exogenous policy changes are identified by adapting an external instruments approach to the non-linear model. The lower effectiveness of monetary policy can be linked to weaker responses of credit costs, suggesting a financial accelerator mechanism that is weaker in high volatility periods.