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Resolving the unbiasedness puzzle in the foreign exchange market

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  • Daniel L. Thornton

Abstract

An unresolved puzzle in the empirical foreign exchange literature is that tests of forward rate unbiasedness using the forward rate and forward premium equations yield markedly different conclusions about the unbiasedness of the forward exchange rate. This puzzle is resolved by showing that because of the persistence in exchange rates, estimates of the slope coefficient from the forward premium equation are extremely sensitive to small violations of the null hypothesis of the type and magnitude that are likely to exist in the real world. Moreover, contrary to suggestions in the literature and common practice, the forward premium equation does not necessarily provide a better test of unbiasedness than the forward rate equation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2009-002.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2009-002

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Keywords: Foreign exchange;

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  1. Richard T. Baillie & Rehim Kilic, 2005. "Do Asymmetric and Nonlinear Adjustments Explain the Forward Premium Anomaly?," Working Papers 543, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Longworth, David, 1981. "Testing the Efficiency of the Canadian-U.S. Exchange Market under the Assumption of no Risk Premium," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(1), pages 43-49, March.
  3. Meese, Richard A & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. " On Unit Roots and the Empirical Modeling of Exchange Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1029-35, September.
  4. Goodhart, Charles A E & McMahon, Patrick C & Ngama, Yerima L, 1997. "Why Does the Spot-Forward Discount Fail to Predict Changes in Future Spot Rates," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 2(2), pages 121-29, April.
  5. Frenkel, Jacob A, 1981. "Flexible Exchange Rates, Prices, and the Role of "News": Lessons from the 1970s," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 665-705, August.
  6. Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J. & Marshall, David A., 1997. "On biases in tests of the expectations hypothesis of the term structure of interest rates," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 309-348, June.
  7. Frenkel, Jacob A, 1976. " A Monetary Approach to the Exchange Rate: Doctrinal Aspects and Empirical Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 78(2), pages 200-224.
  8. Giorgio Valente & H. L. Leon & Lucio Sarno, 2006. "Nonlinearity in Deviations From Uncovered Interest Parity," IMF Working Papers 06/136, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Lucio Sarno & Giorgio Valente & Hyginus Leon, 2006. "Nonlinearity in Deviations from Uncovered Interest Parity: An Explanation of the Forward Bias Puzzle," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 10(3), pages 443-482, September.
  10. Bennett T. McCallum, 1994. "A Reconsideration of the Uncovered Interest Parity Relationship," NBER Working Papers 4113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alex Maynard & Peter C. B. Phillips, 2001. "Rethinking an old empirical puzzle: econometric evidence on the forward discount anomaly," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(6), pages 671-708.
  12. Barnhart, Scott W. & McNown, Robert & Wallace, Myles S., 1999. "Non-Informative Tests of the Unbiased Forward Exchange Rate," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(02), pages 265-291, June.
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