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A $700 Billion Niche Funding Tool Braces for More Scrutiny

May 16, 2022, 8:00 AM

There’s a $700 billion funding market quietly greasing the wheels of the global economy, and accounting watchdogs aim to expose it.

A form of short-term borrowing, known as supply-chain finance, operates off corporate balance sheets and has become so prevalent that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called on the likes of Coca-Cola Co. and Boeing Co. to reveal details of their exposure to what some call “hidden debt.”

Regulators, investors and analysts are growing increasingly concerned that companies are using the practice to flatter their finances and conceal the type of liquidity risks that were key in the collapse ...