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Keywords:letter of credit 

Report
International Trade, Risk and the Role of Banks

Banks play a critical role in international trade by providing trade finance products that reduce the risk of exporting. This paper employs two new data sets to shed light on the magnitude and structure of this business, which, as we show, is highly concentrated in a few large banks. The two principal trade finance instruments, letters of credit and documentary collections, covered about 10 percent of U.S. exports in 2012. They are preferred for larger transactions, which indicates the existence of substantial fixed costs in the provision and use of these instruments. Letters of credit are ...
Staff Reports , Paper 633

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

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

Working Paper
No Guarantees, No Trade: How Banks Affect Export Patterns

How relevant are financial instruments to manage risk in international trade for exporting? Employing a unique dataset of U.S. banks' trade finance claims by country, this paper estimates the effect of shocks to the supply of letters of credit on U.S. exports. We show that a one-standard deviation negative shock to a country's supply of letters of credit reduces U.S. exports to that country by 1.5 percentage points. This effect is stronger for smaller and poorer destinations. It more than doubles during crisis times, suggesting a non-negligible role for finance in explaining the Great Trade ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1158

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