Trade credit and international trade during the 2008-09 global financial crisis
Abstract: This paper studies the role of the credit crunch in the severe contraction of trade and economic activity at the height of the 2008-09 global financial crisis, using firm-level data from six emerging market economies in Asia. We construct firm-specific measures of global demand, which allow us to disentangle the effect of falling demand from that of financial constraints on sales. The results indicate that: (1) Although the fall in demand adversely affected the sales of all firms during the crisis, sales declined by less for firms with better pre-crisis financial conditions. (2) In the face of the decline in external financing opportunities, some firms relied more on trade credit from suppliers to supplement operating capital during the crisis, which allowed them to post relatively better sales. (3) Export-intensive firms with comparable financial vulnerability resorted less to trade credit as an alternative source of finance, and hence experienced sharper declines in sales than the domestically-oriented firms. These findings point to the presence of credit frictions among the factors that contributed to the disproportionately large decline in international trade during the crisis.
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Part of Series: International Finance Discussion Papers
Publication Date: 2011