Monetary policy, reach-for-yield and small-versus-large company debt maturity adjustments!

Does financial policy influence the maturity structure of corporate debt? That’s, do alterations in the financial policy stance alter non-financial firms’ incentives to issue short- versus lengthy-term debt? Which companies eventually change their debt maturity more dramatically?

These questions are essential for a lot of reasons. Rising amounts of corporate debt represent a vital supply of vulnerability for economies, as highlighted by policy makers such as the Worldwide Financial Fund and also the World Bank. In this way, debt maturity is really a key attribute in explaining firms’ responses to various kinds of shocks-such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic (Fahlenbrach et al. 2020)-as well as their capability to recover following economic and financial downturns. Hence, understanding whether central banks influence firms’ relative reliance upon short- versus lengthy-term debt may reveal a potentially relevant and unintended facet of their policies on firm risk.

Regardless of the relevance from the question at hands, not one other study systematically investigates the outcome of financial policy shocks on corporate debt maturity structure. Our paper contributes by creating novel (aggregate and mix-sectional) empirical details and proposing a mechanism that explains them.

Our results have policy implications which are discussed in the finish of the blog.

Our paper

We disentangle the result of financial policy around the maturity structure of corporate debt by investigating data for that US non-financial corporate sector over 1990-2017.

Particularly, consistently through the time-series and firm-level empirical analysis, we concentrate on the share of lengthy-term debt, recognized as the proportion of debt with outstanding maturity more than twelve months. We collected time-series data in the Fed Board’s (FED’s) Flows of Funds, following Greenwood et al. (2010), and firm-level balance sheet data for listed non-financial firms from Compustat.

Like a proxy for financial policy shocks, our baseline analysis employs the straightforward quarterly variation within the effective federal funds rate. However, we verify the sturdiness in our findings to presenting other exogenous shocks according to high-frequency identification.

We estimate the dynamic response from the share of lengthy-term debt to financial policy shocks through local projections (Jordá 2005).

Figure 1 depicts our desire response stemming from the moment-series analysis, calibrated to some 25 basis points quarterly decrease in the insurance policy rate through the Given. Obviously, carrying out a policy rate cut, the proportion of lengthy-term debt increases. The adjustment is persistent and economically large, amounting to .42 percentage point (p.p.) twelve months following the shock. To compare, the typical quarterly rate of growth from the share of lengthy-term debts are .15 p.p. Put differently, financial policy explains a substantial fraction from the variation in non-financial firms’ relative reliance upon short- versus lengthy-term debt.

Figure 1: Response from the share of lengthy-term debt to some financial policy shock


A line chart showing Figure 1: Response from the share of lengthy-term debt to some financial policy shock

The figure reports our desire response purpose of the proportion of lengthy-term debt to some 25 basis points policy rate cut.

Next, we investigate firm-level data to gauge eventual mix-sectional variations in firms’ adjustment. We again use local projections, although inside a panel data framework, and permit for various firm-level channels they are driving our findings. Namely, we “horse race” asset size, financial leverage, liquid assets, and firm profitability.

Apparently , the heterogeneity in firm adjustment is mainly driven by asset size. Unlike traditional types of financial policy transmission-predicting that businesses adjust their capital structure relatively more responding to rate of interest shocks-we discover that large companies have the effect of the mixture patterns.

This are visible in figure 2, where we report impulse response functions believed within different categories of listed companies, sorted with respect to the particular industry-level asset size quartile. Only firms within the upper quartile from the asset size distribution improve their relative reliance upon lengthy-term debt, whereas smaller sized firms are usually unaffected. In further analysis, we reveal that the adjustments are impelled by alterations in lengthy-term debt by individuals large firms.

Figure 2. Response from the share of lengthy-term debt to some financial policy shock across companies of various sizes


Some four line chart showing Figure 2. Response from the share of lengthy-term debt to some financial policy shock across companies of various size

The figure reports our desire response purpose of the proportion of lengthy-term debt to some 25 basis points policy rate cut across different categories of non-financial listed companies, sorted based on industry-level asset size quartiles.

So why do such big, perhaps unconstrained companies increase lengthy-term debt and alter their debt maturity structure when financial policy loosens?

We advise an idea that encompasses firm-level financing frictions because of moral hazard and the existence of yield-seeking investors (Hanson and Stein 2015) who achieve for yield, and therefore they increase interest in dangerous lengthy-term bonds once the policy rate falls, to keep their portfolio yield. Only large, unconstrained companies can engage in this demand shift by issuing lengthy-term bonds, consistent with our empirical details.

Our work concludes with couple of empirical tests around the model’s primary mechanism. Particularly, consistent with our theory, we discover that grabbing yield by corporate bond mutual funds (Choi and Kronlund 2018) is connected having a bigger begin corporate bond holdings along with a increase in portfolio maturity following mortgage loan loosening. Likewise, using the conjecture that giant firms’ relative fact is driven by rise in demand by financial investors, we discover not just that large firms boost the issuance of lengthy-term bonds, but additionally such issuance advantages of relatively lower financing costs (in contrast to small firms).

Policy implications

Our work has got the following policy implications:

Prolonged periods of low interest possess the unintended results of mounting up immeasureable lengthy-term debt in large firms’ balance sheets, with costly debt overhang dynamics like a legacy (Gomes et al. 2016 Kalemli-Ozcan et al. 2018).

The achieve-for-yield funnel favors large firms, which dominate the text market and therefore are unlikely to improve investment and/or employment with the debt funnel (see, for instance, Elgouacem and Zago 2019). Hence, this funnel might not have significant effects around the real economy.

Innovative economies have observed very low interest in the last decade. Because of the unparalleled contractionary forces released through the Covid-19 pandemic, reduced rates will probably remain for that near future. During this insurance policy atmosphere the standard bank-centered financial policy transmission might be hampered (see, for instance, Brunnermeier and Koby 2018), the achieve-for-yield funnel will probably be exacerbated, which ultimately raises doubts about the potency of further financial expansion in stimulating recovery.

We leave this for future research.

Andrea Fabiani (@AndreaFabiani89) is really a PhD candidate in Financial aspects at Universitat Pompeu Fabra & Barcelona GSE. Additional information about his research are available on his website.


Brunnermeier, M. K., & Koby, Y. (2018). The reversal rate of interest (No. w25406). National Bureau of monetary Research.

Choi, J., & Kronlund, M. (2018). Grabbing yield in corporate bond mutual funds. Overview of Financial Studies, 31(5), 1930-1965.

Elgouacem, A., & Zago, R. (2019). Share Buybacks, Financial Policy and the price of Debt (No. w773). Banque de France.

Fahlenbrach, R., Rageth, K., & Stulz, R. M. (2020). How valuable is financial versatility when revenue stops? Evidence in the Covid-19 crisis (No. w27106). National Bureau of monetary Research.

Gomes, J., Jermann, U., & Schmid, L. (2016). Sticky leverage. American Economic Review, 106(12), 3800-3828.

Greenwood, R., Hanson, S., & Stein, J. C. (2010). A niche-filling theory of corporate debt maturity choice. Journal of Finance, 65(3), 993-1028.

Gürkaynak, R. S., Sack, B., & Swansonc, E. T. (2005). Do actions speak louder than words? The response of asset prices to financial policy actions and statements. Worldwide Journal of Central Banking.

Hanson, S. G., & Stein, J. C. (2015). Financial policy and lengthy-term real rates. Journal of monetary Financial aspects, 115(3), 429-448.

Jarocinski, M., & Karadi, P. (2020). Deconstructing financial policy surprises-The function of knowledge shocks. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 12(2), 1-43.

Jordà, Ò. (2005). Estimation and inference of impulse responses by local projections. American Economic Review, 95(1), 161-182.

Kalemli-Ozcan, S., Laeven, L., & Moreno, D. (2018). Debt overhang, rollover risk, and company investment: Evidence in the European crisis (No. w24555). National Bureau of monetary Research.

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