Hedger of Last Resort: Evidence from Brazil on FX Interventions, Local Credit and Global Financial Cycles
We analyze whether changes in global financial conditions affect local credit and the real economy in emerging markets and whether local central banks can attenuate such spillovers. For identification, we exploit macro shocks and three matched administrative registers in Brazil: a register of foreign credit flows to Brazilian commercial banks, a credit register from the Central Bank of Brazil, and a matched employer-employee dataset from the Ministry of Labor and Employment. We show that after the announcement of US Quantitative Easing tapering by Ben Bernanke in May 2013, which was associated with massive depreciation and increased volatility of the local currency, domestic commercial banks with larger foreign liabilities reduced the supply of credit to firms and this had real effects in terms of formal employment. However, these negative effects were attenuated in the following months when the Central Bank of Brazil announced a massive intervention program in the FX derivatives market to provide insurance against exchange rate risks (hedger of last resort). On top of these two subsequent shocks, we also analyze a full panel dataset from 2008 to 2015 and identify a broader channel: banks with larger FX liabilities reduce their supply of credit after episodes of US Dollar appreciation. Moreover, these effects are partially mitigated in the two years after the intervention of the central bank confirming that the policy of hedger of last resort has been effective in decreasing local economy exposure to global financial conditions.