DP14344 Corporate Yields and Sovereign Yields

Author(s): Julia Bevilaqua, Galina B Hale, Eric Tallman
Publication Date: January 2020
Keyword(s): bond, crisis, debt
JEL(s): E52, F34, F36, F65
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics and Finance
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14344

We document that positive association between corporate and sovereign cost of funds borrowed on global capital markets weakens during periods of unusually high sovereign yields, when some corporate borrowers are able to issue debt that is priced at lower rates than sovereign debt. This state-dependent sensitivity of corporate yields to sovereign yields has not been previously documented in the literature. We demonstrate that this stylized fact is observed across countries and industries as well as for a given borrower over time. It is not explained by a different composition of borrowers issuing debt during periods of high sovereign yields, by the relationship between corporate and sovereign credit ratings, and only partially explained by financial crises and IMF programs. We propose a simple information model that rationalizes our empirical observations: when sovereign yields are high, corporate yields are less sensitive to sovereign yields