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Borrowing in Foreign Currency: Austrian Households as Carry Traders

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  • Christian Beer
  • Steven Ongena
  • Marcel Peter

Abstract

Household borrowing in a foreign currency is a widespread phenomenon in Austria. Twelve percent of Austrian households report their housing loan to be denominated in either Swiss franc or Japanese yen for example. Yet, despite its importance, peculiar character, and immediate policy concerns, we know too little about the attitudes and characteristics of the households involved in this type of carry trade. We analyze a uniquely detailed financial wealth survey of 2,556 Austrian households to sketch a comprehensive profile of the attitudes and characteristics of the households involved. We employ both univariate tests and multivariate multinomial logit models. The survey data suggests that risk-loving, wealthy, and married households are more likely to take a housing loan in a foreign currency. High-income households are more likely to take a housing loan in general. These findings may partially assuage policy concerns about household default risk on foreign-currency housing loans.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Swiss National Bank in its series Working Papers with number 2008-19.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2008-19

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Keywords: oreign currency borrowing; mortgages; banking sector; Austria; Swissfrancs;

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References

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  1. John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2003. "Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice," NBER Working Papers 9759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," NBER Working Papers 12149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George Allayannis & Gregory W. Brown & Leora F. Klapper, 2003. "Capital Structure and Financial Risk: Evidence from Foreign Debt Use in East Asia," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2667-2710, December.
  4. Christian Beer & Peter Mooslechner & Martin Schürz & Karin Wagner, 2006. "Austrian Households’ Financial Wealth: An Analysis Based on Microeconomic Data," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 94–110.
  5. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Baby Boomer Retirement Security: The Roles of Planning, Financial Literacy, and Housing Wealth," CeRP Working Papers 54, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
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  7. Reinhart, Carmen & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2004. "The modern history of exchange rate arrangements: A reinterpretation," MPRA Paper 14070, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. repec:ltr:wpaper:2008.05 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Matti Keloharju & Mervi Niskanen, 2001. "Why Do Firms Raise Foreign Currency Denominated Debt? Evidence from Finland," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 7(4), pages 481-496.
  10. Ephraim Clark & Amrit Judge, 2008. "The Determinants of Foreign Currency Hedging: Does Foreign Currency Debt Induce a Bias?," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 14(3), pages 445-469.
  11. Brown, Martin & Ongena, Steven & Yesin, Pinar, 2009. "Foreign Currency Borrowing by Small Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 7540, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Gabriele Galati & Alexandra Heath & Patrick McGuire, 2007. "Evidence of carry trade activity," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
  13. Luca, Alina & Petrova, Iva, 2008. "What drives credit dollarization in transition economies?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 858-869, May.
  14. Aggarwal, Raj & Goodell, John W., 2009. "Markets and institutions in financial intermediation: National characteristics as determinants," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1770-1780, October.
  15. Paiella, Monica & Pozzolo, Alberto Franco, 2007. "Choosing Between Fixed and Adjustable Rate Mortgages," Economics & Statistics Discussion Papers esdp07033, University of Molise, Dept. EGSeI.
  16. Buly A Cardak & Roger K. Wilkins, 2008. "The Determinants of Household Risky Asset Holdings: Australian Evidence on Background Risk and Other Factors#," Working Papers 2008.05, School of Economics, La Trobe University.
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