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Getting beyond carry trade: what makes a safe haven currency?

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  • Habib, Maurizio Michael
  • Stracca, Livio

Abstract

There is already a substantial literature documenting the fact that low yield currencies typically appreciate during times of global financial stress and behave as safe havens. The main objective of this paper is to find out what the fundamentals of safe haven currencies are. We analyse a large panel of 52 currencies in advanced and emerging countries over almost 25 years of data. We find that only a few factors are robustly associated to a safe haven status, most notably the net foreign asset position, an indicator of external vulnerability, and to a lesser extent the absolute size of the stock market, an indicator of market size and development. The interest rate spread against the US is significant only for advanced countries, whose currencies are subject to carry trade. More generally, we find that it is hard to predict what currencies would do when global risk aversion is high, as estimates are imprecise and often not stable or robust. This suggests caution in over-interpreting exchange rate movements during financial crises. JEL Classification: E44, F31, G15

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 1288.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20111288

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Keywords: carry trade; global risk aversion; Globalisation; safe haven currencies; VIX;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Virginie Coudert & Cyriac Guillaumin & Hélene Raymond, 2014. "Looking at the Other Side of Carry Trades: Are there any Safe Haven Currencies?," Working Papers 2014-03, CEPII research center.
  2. Buetzer, Sascha & Habib, Maurizio Michael & Stracca, Livio, 2012. "Global exchange rate configurations: Do oil shocks matter?," Working Paper Series 1442, European Central Bank.
  3. Stracca, Livio, 2013. "The global effects of the euro debt crisis," Working Paper Series 1573, European Central Bank.
  4. Habib, Maurizio Michael & Stracca, Livio, 2013. "Foreign investors and risk shocks: seeking a safe haven or running for the exit?," Working Paper Series 1609, European Central Bank.
  5. Dennis P. J. Botman & Irineu E. Carvalho Filho & Raphael W. Lam, 2013. "The Curious Case of the Yen as a Safe Haven Currency: A Forensic Analysis," IMF Working Papers 13/228, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Michael Melvin & John Prins & Duncan Shand, 2013. "Forecasting Exchange Rates: An Investor Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 4238, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Alfred Wong & Tom Fong, 2013. "Gauging the Safehavenness of Currencies," Working Papers 132013, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
  8. Thomas Nitschka, 2014. "The Good? The Bad? The Ugly? Which news drive (co)variation in Swiss and US bond and stock excess returns?," Working Papers 2014-01, Swiss National Bank.
  9. Linda S. Goldberg & Christian Grisse, 2013. "Time Variation in Asset Price Responses to Macro Announcements," NBER Working Papers 19523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Reinout De Bock & Irineu E. Carvalho Filho, 2013. "The Behavior of Currencies during Risk-off Episodes," IMF Working Papers 13/8, International Monetary Fund.
  11. McKinnon, Ronald & Liu, Zhao, 2013. "Modern Currency Wars: The United States versus Japan," ADBI Working Papers 437, Asian Development Bank Institute.
  12. Irineu de Carvalho Filho, 2013. "Risk-off Episodes and Swiss Franc Appreciation: the Role of Capital Flows," Working Papers 13.07, Swiss National Bank, Study Center Gerzensee.

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