The Bank of Italy today publishes 'Assessing credit risk sensitivity to climate and energy shocks', the new issue of the series 'Markets, infrastructures, payment systems'.
We apply a novel method to estimate the impact of a change in energy expenditure on Italian firms' credit risk, measured as the 12-month default probability (PD). We examine a shock to energy expenditure originating from different carbon tax levels and then 1) shock energy prices;
2) re‑compute the firm-level energy mix; 3) assess the impact on the firm PD via the re‑calculation of its financial statement. The flexibility of this approach, which includes scope 2 emissions, enables us to assess the transmission channels of energy shocks and firm exposure in detail. Our results show that the introduction of carbon taxation would have a limited impact on credit risk: a carbon tax of EUR 40, EUR 90 and EUR 140 per tonne of CO2 would raise the average PD by 0.6, 2.3 and 4.1 basis points, respectively. The effect is slightly larger for the Agriculture and Services sectors, while there is no clear pattern relating to firm size.