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SCOPUS 학술저널

Chinese Corporate Leverage Determinants

Total debt in the People’s Republic of China surged to nearly 290% as a ratio to GDP by the second quarter of 2016, mostly on account of non-financial corporate debt. The outpouring of credit to stem the impact of the global financial crisis accentuated industrial overcapacity in traditional sectors, such as steel, cement, and energy, while feeding asset bubbles in the property, equity and bond markets. At the Chinese corporate level, this has translated into weakened fundamentals and a fall in industrial profits, particularly of SOEs. As debtors struggle to service interest payments, non-performing loans (NPLs) have been on the rise. This paper assesses the financial fragility of the Chinese economy by looking at risk factors in the non-financial sector. We apply quantile regressions to a dataset containing all Chinese listed companies in Standard & Poor’s IQ Capital database. We find higher sensitivity over time of corporate leverage to some of its key determinants, particularly for firms at the upper margin of the distribution. In particular, profitability increasingly acts as a curb on corporate leverage. At a time of falling profitability across the Chinese non-financial corporate sector, this eases the brake on leverage and may contribute to its continuing increase.

1. Introduction

2. Corporate Leverage and Growing Financial Risk

3. Determinants of Corporate Debt

4. Conclusions

References

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