Marina Conesa Martínez, Giulia Lotti, Andrew Powell, 20 November 2020

Global banks are highly connected, and banking systems are only as strong as the weakest links in the network. This column analyses cross-border syndicated lending to emerging and developing countries from 1993 to 2020 and finds evidence of both resilience and fragility in the global financial system. Contagion through co-lenders affected bank lending more strongly before and during the 2008-09 financial crisis but significantly less in a period after the crisis, consistent with the idea that the reduction in network density as a result of the crisis may have increased resilience to ‘normal shocks’. But Covid-19 is clearly no normal shock, and its impacts are likely spreading through the network, affecting the supply of loans to emerging economies.

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