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The Expansion of Corporate Debt Issuance in the Asian and Latin American Markets

Facundo Abraham Consultant, Macroeconomics and Growth, Development Research Group, The World Bank. Contact: fabraham@worldbank.org.
Juan J. CORTINA Consultant, Macroeconomics and Growth, Development Research Group, The World Bank. Contact: jcortinalorente@worldbank.org.
Sergio L. SCHMUKLER Research Manager, Macroeconomics and Growth, Development Research Group, The World Bank. Contact: sschmukler@worldbank.org


Firms in East Asia and Latin America expanded their borrowing activity by increasing bond issuances during 2010-2019. A higher demand of corporate bonds by institutional investors played a key role in this development. East Asian firms mainly borrowed from domestic investors issuing local currency denominated bonds. Latin American firms mainly borrowed from foreign investors issuing foreign currency denominated bonds. As bond financing expanded, borrowing firms increased their leverage positions and worsened their financial performance. Higher borrowing has exposed firms to different risks heightened by the pandemic crisis. Risks in East Asia have been more related to higher amounts of borrowing than in Latin America and to the participation of smaller firms, which tend to have fewer financing options and issue debt at shorter maturities. Latin American firms have been more exposed to external factors and currency depreciations because they have relied more heavily on foreign financing in foreign currency.


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