Does exchange rate depreciation have contractionary effects on firm-level investment?

BIS Working Papers No 624
April 2017

We assess the conditions under which exchange rate fluctuations are contractionary for firm-level investment. To address this question, we match firm-level balance sheet data with a large dataset of firm-level bonds for about 1,000 firms from 36 emerging market economies over the period 1998-2014. We augment a standard firm-level investment model to control for (country-specific) macroeconomic variables, and interact the effect of an exchange rate depreciation with several dimensions of bond composition, namely: 1) currency of issuance; 2) maturity structure of bonds; and 3) market of issuance. We find that, conditional on the amount of debt issued in foreign currency, an exchange rate depreciation can have a contractionary impact on a firm's investment spending. We also find that the market of issuance and maturity structure, in particular, when coupled with foreign currency-denominated debt can influence this impact.

JEL classification: F2, F3, E2, E3

Keywords: investment, exchange rate, balance sheet, bonds, firm-level data, debt