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Jel Classification:F21 

Report
No guarantees, no trade: how banks affect export patterns

This study provides evidence that shocks to the supply of trade finance have a causal effect on U.S. exports. The identification strategy exploits variation in the importance of banks as providers of letters of credit across countries. The larger a U.S. bank?s share of the trade finance market in a country, the larger should be the effect on exports to that country if the bank changes its supply of letters of credit. We find that a shock of one standard deviation to a country?s supply of letters of credit increases export growth, on average, by 1.5 percentage points. The effect is larger for ...
Staff Reports , Paper 659

Report
Demography, national savings and international capital flows

This paper addresses the relationship between age distributions, national savings and the current account balance. The results point to substantial demographic effects, with increases in both the youth and old-age dependency ratios associated with lower savings rates. They also point to differential effects on savings and investment, and thus to a role for demography in determining the current account balance. The estimated demographic effect on the current account balance exceeds six percent of GDP over the last three decades for a number of countries and, given expected demographic trends, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 34

Report
Banking across borders

The international linkages between banks play a crucial role in today?s global economy. Existing models explain these links on the basis of portfolio theory, in which banks diversify lending. These models have found only limited empirical support and do not speak to many relevant dimensions of the data. For example, they do not address heterogeneity in the degree to which banking sectors fund their foreign operations locally in foreign markets. This paper proposes an alternative theory to explain banking across borders that is based on elements of international trade theory. In the model, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 576

Report
The Global Financial Resource Curse

Since the late 1990s, the United States has received large capital flows from developing countries and experienced a productivity growth slowdown. Motivated by these facts, we provide a model connecting international financial integration and global productivity growth. The key feature is that the tradable sector is the engine of growth of the economy. Capital flows from developing countries to the United States boost demand for U.S. non-tradable goods. This induces a reallocation of U.S. economic activity from the tradable sector to the non-tradable one. In turn, lower profits in the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 915

Working Paper
Optimal Monetary Policy in an Open Emerging Market Economy

The majority of households across emerging market economies are excluded from the financial markets and cannot smooth consumption. I analyze the implications of this for optimal monetary policy and the corresponding choice of domestic versus external nominal anchor in a small open economy framework with nominal rigidities, aggregate uncertainty and financial exclusion. I find that, if set optimally, monetary policy smooths the consumption of financially excluded agents by stabilizing their income. Even though Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation targeting approximates optimal monetary policy ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2016-6

Working Paper
U.S. Monetary Policy and Fluctuations of International Bank Lending

There is no consensus in the empirical literature on the direction in which U.S. monetary policy affects cross-border bank lending. We find robust evidence that the impact of the U.S. federal funds rate on cross-border bank lending in a given period depends on the prevailing international capital flows regime and on the level of the two main components of the federal funds rate: macro fundamentals and monetary policy stance. During episodes in which bank lending from advanced to emerging economies is booming, the relationship between the federal funds rate and cross-border bank lending is ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2018-2

Working Paper
China’s Current Account : External Rebalancing or Capital Flight?

This paper examines an anomaly in China?s current account: its large and rapidly growing travel expenditure. Drawing evidence from counterparty data, Chinese international arrival statistics, and gravity equation models extended to travel trade, I find that a significant amount of China?s travel spending in the period 2014-2016 could not be explained by accounting factors or economic fundamentals. The unexplained travel imports are inversely associated with domestic growth and positively associated with renminbi depreciation expectations against the dollar, suggesting that they are less ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1208

Working Paper
Home Country Interest Rates and International Investment in U.S. Bonds

We analyze how interest rates affect cross-border portfolio investments. Data on U.S. bond holdings by foreign investors from 31 countries for the period 2003 - 2016 and a large variety in movements in interest rates in these countries provide for a unique way to analyze shifts in investment behavior in response to interest rates. We find that low(er) interest rates, now prevailing in many advanced countries, lead to greater investment in general into the United States, with the effects generally driven by investment in (higher yielding) corporate bonds, rather than in Treasury bonds. In ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1231

Working Paper
Searching for Yield Abroad : Risk-Taking Through Foreign Investment in U.S. Bonds

The risk-taking effects of low interest rates, now prevailing in many advanced countries, "search-for-yield," can be hard to analyze due to both a paucity of data and challenges in identification. Unique, security-level data on portfolio investment into the United States allow us to overcome both problems. Analyzing holdings of investors from 36 countries in close to 15,000 unique U.S. corporate bonds between 2003 and 2016, we show that declining home-country interest rates lead investors to shift their portfolios toward riskier U.S. corporate bonds, consistent with "search-for-yield". We ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1224

Working Paper
International Trade Risk and the Role of Banks

International trade exposes exporters and importers to substantial risks. To mitigate these risks, firms can buy special trade finance products from banks. This paper explores under which conditions and to what extent firms use these products. We find that letters of credit and documentary collections cover about 10 percent of U.S. exports and are preferred for larger transactions, indicating substantial fixed costs. Letters of credit are employed the most for exports to countries with intermediate contract enforcement. Compared to documentary collections, they are used for riskier ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1151

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