This work analyses the main trends in bond financing by Italian non-financial firms and its role in relation to bank credit across different economic phases. The first part of the analysis refers to the 2008-2019 period, characterized by both crisis and recovery episodes, while the second part focuses on the specific effects of the recent pandemic crisis.
The analysis shows that the corporate bond market experienced substantial growth over the years. The terms of financing, such as coupon rates and maturities, eased gradually and a greater range of issuers tapped the market, including an increasing number of riskier firms. While the 2008 and 2012 crises encouraged non-financial firms - especially the larger ones - to use bond funding as an alternative to bank credit, during the 2020 pandemic crisis both funding sources expanded, showing some complementarity between the market and bank financing channels.