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 Cluster
Financial Stability and Regulation

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Professor Dr Stefan Eichler
Professor Dr Stefan Eichler
Mitglied - Department Financial Markets
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EXTERNAL FUNDING

01.2017 ‐ 12.2020

The Role of Idiosyncratic and Systemic Bank Risks during the Euro Crisis

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung

Professor Dr Stefan Eichler

Refereed Publications

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Central Bank Transparency and Cross-border Banking

Stefan Eichler Helge Littke Lena Tonzer

in: Journal of International Money and Finance, 2017

Abstract

We analyze the effect of central bank transparency on cross-border bank activities. Based on a panel gravity model for cross-border bank claims for 21 home and 47 destination countries from 1998 to 2010, we find strong empirical evidence that a rise in central bank transparency in the destination country, on average, increases cross-border claims. Using interaction models, we find that the positive effect of central bank transparency on cross-border claims is only significant if the central bank is politically independent and operates in a stable economic environment. Central bank transparency and credibility are thus considered complements by banks investing abroad.

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Career Experience, Political Effects, and Voting Behavior in the Riksbank’s Monetary Policy Committee

Stefan Eichler Tom Lähner

in: Economics Letters, June 2017

Abstract

We find that career experience shapes the voting behavior of the Riksbank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members. Members with a career in the Riksbank and the government prefer higher rates. During a legislation with a center-right (center-left) party administration, MPC members with a career background in the government favor higher (lower) interest rates. Highlights: • The determinants of voting behavior in the Swedish Riksbank are considered. • Voting is analyzed with random effects ordered logit models for 1999–2013. • Interplay of career experience and political factors shapes voting behavior. • Government or Riksbank background leads to higher interest rate votes. • Partisan voting behavior is detected for members with government background.

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The Political Determinants of Government Bond Holdings

Stefan Eichler Timo Plaga

in: Journal of International Money and Finance, No. 5, 2017

Abstract

This paper analyzes the link between political factors and sovereign bond holdings of US investors in 60 countries over the 2003–2013 period. We find that, in general, US investors hold more bonds in countries with few political constraints on the government. Moreover, US investors respond to increased uncertainty around major elections by reducing government bond holdings. These effects are particularly significant in democratic regimes and countries with sound institutions, which enable effective implementation of fiscal consolidation measures or economic reforms. In countries characterized by high current default risk or a sovereign default history, US investors show a tendency towards favoring higher political constraints as this makes sovereign default more difficult for the government. Political instability, characterized by the fluctuation in political veto players, reduces US investment in government bonds. This effect is more pronounced in countries with low sovereign solvency.

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National Politics and Bank Default Risk in the Eurozone

Stefan Eichler Karol Sobanski

in: Journal of Financial Stability, October 2016

Abstract

We study the impact of national politics on default risk of eurozone banks as measured by the stock market-based Distance to Default. We find that national electoral cycles, the power of the government as well as the government’s party ideological alignment significantly affect the stability of banks in the eurozone member countries. Moreover, we show that the impact of national politics on bank default risk is more pronounced for large as well as weakly capitalized banks.

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Banks and Sovereign Risk: A Granular View

Claudia M. Buch Michael Koetter Jana Ohls

in: Journal of Financial Stability, 2016

Abstract

We investigate the determinants of sovereign bond holdings of German banks and the implications of such holdings for bank risk. We use granular information on all German banks and all sovereign debt exposures in the years 2005–2013. As regards the determinants of sovereign bond holdings of banks, we find that these are larger for weakly capitalized banks, banks that are active on capital markets, and for large banks. Yet, only around two thirds of all German banks hold sovereign bonds. Macroeconomic fundamentals were significant drivers of sovereign bond holdings only after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. With the outbreak of the sovereign debt crisis, German banks reallocated their portfolios toward sovereigns with lower debt ratios and bonds with lower yields. With regard to the implications for bank risk, we find that low-risk government bonds decreased the risk of German banks, especially for savings and cooperative banks. Holdings of high-risk government bonds, in turn, increased the risk of commercial banks during the sovereign debt crisis.

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Working Papers

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Physical Climate Change Risks and the Sovereign Creditworthiness of Emerging Economies

Hannes Böhm

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 8, 2020

Abstract

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.

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Channeling the Iron Ore Super-cycle: The Role of Regional Bank Branch Networks in Emerging Markets

Helge Littke

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 11, 2018

Abstract

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.

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Time-varying Volatility, Financial Intermediation and Monetary Policy

S. Eickmeier N. Metiu Esteban Prieto

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 19, 2016

Abstract

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.

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A Market-based Indicator of Currency Risk: Evidence from American Depositary Receipts

Stefan Eichler Ingmar Roevekamp

in: IWH Discussion Papers, No. 4, 2016

Abstract

We introduce a novel currency risk measure based on American Depositary Receipts(ADRs). Using a multifactor pricing model, we exploit ADR investors’ exposure to potential devaluation losses to derive an indicator of currency risk. Using weekly data for a sample of 831 ADRs located in 23 emerging markets over the 1994-2014 period, we find that a deterioration in the fiscal and current account balance, as well as higher inflation, increases currency risk. Interaction models reveal that these macroeconomic fundamentals drive currency risk, particularly in countries with managed exchange rates, low levels of foreign exchange reserves and a poor sovereign credit rating.

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Macroeconomic Factors and Micro-Level Bank Risk

Claudia M. Buch

in: Bundesbank Discussion Paper 20/2010, 2010

Abstract

The interplay between banks and the macroeconomy is of key importance for financial and economic stability. We analyze this link using a factor-augmented vector autoregressive model (FAVAR) which extends a standard VAR for the U.S. macroeconomy. The model includes GDP growth, inflation, the Federal Funds rate, house price inflation, and a set of factors summarizing conditions in the banking sector. We use data of more than 1,500 commercial banks from the U.S. call reports to address the following questions. How are macroeconomic shocks transmitted to bank risk and other banking variables? What are the sources of bank heterogeneity, and what explains differences in individual banks’ responses to macroeconomic shocks? Our paper has two main findings: (i) Average bank risk declines, and average bank lending increases following expansionary shocks. (ii) The heterogeneity of banks is characterized by idiosyncratic shocks and the asymmetric transmission of common shocks. Risk of about 1/3 of all banks rises in response to a monetary loosening. The lending response of small, illiquid, and domestic banks is relatively large, and risk of banks with a low degree of capitalization and a high exposure to real estate loans decreases relatively strongly after expansionary monetary policy shocks. Also, lending of larger banks increases less while risk of riskier and domestic banks reacts more in response to house price shocks.

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