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Market Microstructure and the Profitability of Currency Trading

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  • Carol Osler

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    (International Business School, Brandeis University)

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    Abstract

    Currency trading is a vast and highly profitable business. This paper examines the profitability of two popular currency trading strategies in light of currency-market microstructure research. The carry-trade strategy involves borrowing a low-interest currency and investing the proceeds in a high-interest currency. Technical trading strategies are determined exclusively on the basis of past asset prices and trading volumes. Under the efficient markets hypothesis, neither of these approaches to speculative trading should produce excess returns. The review shows that the profitability of carry-trade investing and technical trading strategies can represent rational long-run equilibria given the structure of currency markets and the incentives and constraints faced by traders.

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    File URL: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/RePEc/brd/doc/Brandeis_WP48.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School in its series Working Papers with number 48.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:48

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    Postal: MS032, P.O. Box 9110, Waltham, MA 02454-9110
    Web page: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/
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    Related research

    Keywords: Carry trade; Technical analysis; Skewness; Liquidity;

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    1. Breedon, Francis & Vitale, Paolo, 2010. "An empirical study of portfolio-balance and information effects of order flow on exchange rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 504-524, April.
    2. Rime, Dagfinn & Sarno, Lucio & Sojli, Elvira, 2009. "Exchange Rate Forecasting, Order Flow and Macroeconomic Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 7225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Della Corte, Pasquale & Sarno, Lucio & Tsiakas, Ilias, 2011. "Spot and forward volatility in foreign exchange," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 496-513, June.
    4. Harald Hau & William Killeen & Michael Moore, 2002. "How has the euro changed the foreign exchange market?," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 17(34), pages 149-192, 04.
    5. Richard Clarida & Josh Davis & Niels Pedersen, 2009. "Currency Carry Trade Regimes: Beyond the Fama Regression," NBER Working Papers 15523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Menkhoff, Lukas & Sarno, Lucio & Schmeling, Maik & Schrimpf, Andreas, 2009. "Carry Trades and Global FX Volatility," MPRA Paper 14728, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Campbell R. Harvey & Akhtar Siddique, 2000. "Conditional Skewness in Asset Pricing Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1263-1295, 06.
    8. Dueker, Michael & Neely, Christopher J., 2007. "Can Markov switching models predict excess foreign exchange returns?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 279-296, February.
    9. Michael J. Sager & Mark P. Taylor, 2006. "Under the microscope: the structure of the foreign exchange market," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(1), pages 81-95.
    10. Simon, David P., 1994. "Further evidence on segmentation in the treasury bill market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 139-151, January.
    11. Dan Bernhardt & Vladimir Dvoracek & Eric Hughson & Ingrid M. Werner, 2005. "Why Do Larger Orders Receive Discounts on the London Stock Exchange?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1343-1368.
    12. Markus K Brunnermeier, 2002. "Bubbles and Crashes," FMG Discussion Papers dp401, Financial Markets Group.
    13. Geir H. BjĂžnnes & Carol L. Osler & Dagfinn Rime, 2009. "Asymmetric information in the interbank foreign exchange market," Working Paper 2008/25, Norges Bank.
    14. Moore, Michael J. & Payne, Richard, 2011. "On the sources of private information in FX markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1250-1262, May.
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