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Emerging Market Currency Excess Returns

  • Stephen Gilmore
  • Fumio Hayashi

We consider the excess return from 20 internationally tradable emerging market (EM) currencies against the US dollar. It has two contributions. First, we document stylized facts about EM currencies. EM currencies have provided significant equity-like excess returns against major currencies, but with low volatility. Picking EM currencies with a relatively high forward premium raises the portfolio return substantially. Second, our calculation incorporates institutional features of the foreign exchange market, such as lags in settling spot contracts, FX swaps, and bid/offer spreads. Transaction costs arising from bid/offer spreads are less than one-fifth of what is typically presumed in the literature. (JEL C58, F31, G15)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
Pages: 85-111

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:3:y:2011:i:4:p:85-111
Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.3.4.85
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  1. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2006. "The Cross-Section of Foreign Currency Risk Premia and Consumption Growth Risk," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-045, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. A. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Isaac Kleshchelski & Sergio T. Rebelo, 2010. "Do Peso Problems Explain the Returns to the Carry Trade?," Working Papers 10-44, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  3. Craig Burnside & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2007. "The Returns to Currency Speculation in Emerging Markets," NBER Working Papers 12916, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Charles Engel, 1995. "The Forward Discount Anomaly and the Risk Premium: A Survey of Recent Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Frankel, Jeffrey & Poonawala, Jumana, 2009. "The Forward Market in Emerging Currencies: Less Biased Than in Major Currencies," Working Paper Series rwp09-023, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
  7. Bekaert, Geert & Hodrick, Robert J., 1993. "On biases in the measurement of foreign exchange risk premiums," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 115-138, April.
  8. Bansal, Ravi & Dahlquist, Magnus, 1999. "The Forward Premium Puzzle: Different Tales from Developed and Emerging Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2169, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Darvas, Zsolt, 2009. "Leveraged carry trade portfolios," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 944-957, May.
  10. Ravi Balakrishnan & Volodymyr Tulin, 2006. "U.S. Dollar Risk Premiums and Capital Flows," IMF Working Papers 06/160, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2004. "The Cross-Section of Foreign Currency Risk Premia and US Consumption Growth Risk," 2004 Meeting Papers 136c, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. de Zwart, Gerben & Markwat, Thijs & Swinkels, Laurens & van Dijk, Dick, 2009. "The economic value of fundamental and technical information in emerging currency markets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 581-604, June.
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