In this paper we identify and estimate the dynamic effects of foreign (US) and national (Canadian) credit shocks in a small open economy. We use standard credit spreads as proxies to the external finance premium. Our first result suggests that the US and Canadian credit spreads contain substantial forecasting power for several measures of the Canadian real economic activity, especially during the recent financial crisis and its aftermath. Secondly, an adverse US credit shock generates a significant and persistent economic slowdown in Canada: the national external finance premium rises immediately while interest rates, credit aggregates, output, and employment indicators decline. Variance decomposition reveals that credit shocks have a sizeable effect on real activity measures, leading indicators, and credit spreads. On the other hand, the unexpected shocks in domestic credit spreads are not able to generate any signifiicant dynamic response of the real activity once we control for the US credit market conditions.

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