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Do Peso Problems Explain the Returns to the Carry Trade?

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  • Burnside, A Craig
  • Eichenbaum, Martin
  • Kleshchelski, Isaac
  • Rebelo, Sérgio

Abstract

Currencies that are at a forward premium tend to depreciate. This `forward-premium puzzle' is an egregious deviation from uncovered interest parity. We document the properties of the carry trade, a currency speculation strategy that exploits this anomaly. This strategy consists of borrowing low-interest-rate currencies and lending high-interest-rate currencies. We first show that the carry trade yields a high Sharpe ratio that is not a compensation for risk. We then consider a hedged version of the carry trade, which protects the investor against large, adverse currency movements. This strategy, implemented with currency options, yields average payoffs that are statistically indistinguishable from the average payoffs to the standard carry trade. We argue that this finding implies that the peso problem cannot be a major determinant of the payoff to the carry trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6873.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6873

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Keywords: carry trade; exchange rates; Uncovered interest parity;

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  1. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Online Appendix to "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle"," Technical Appendices 09-191, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  2. A. Craig Burnside, 2007. "Empirical Asset Pricing and Statistical Power in the Presence of Weak Risk Factors," NBER Working Papers 13357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Altig, David & Christiano, Lawrence & Eichenbaum, Martin & Lindé, Jesper, 2004. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," Working Paper Series 176, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  4. Clinton, Kevin, 1988. "Transactions Costs and Covered Interest Arbitrage: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 358-70, April.
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