Equilibrium foreign currency mortgages
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This paper proposes a novel explanation for why foreign currency denominated loans to households have become so popular in some emerging economies. Our argument is based on what we call the debt limit channel, which arises when multi-period contracts are offered to financially constrained borrowers against collateral that is established on newly acquired assets. Whenever the difference between domestic and foreign interest rates is positive, this channel biases borrowers' choices towards foreign currency, even if the exchange rate is known to depreciate as implied by the interest parity condition. We next use a small open economy DSGE model to analyze how the debt limit channel affects agents' choices under uncertainty. The model implies that, if first-order effects related to the debt limit channel are neutralized by appropriate adjustment in debt contracts, the equilibrium share of foreign currency loans is small.
- KAE Working Papers 
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