IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/bis/bisqtr/0312e.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The credit spread puzzle

Author

Listed:
  • Jeffery D Amato
  • Eli M Remolona

Abstract

Why are spreads on corporate bonds much wider than would be implied by expected losses from default? Previous explanations of this puzzle have assumed that investors can diversify away the risk that actual losses in a corporate bond portfolio will exceed expected losses. However, the skewness in the distribution of corporate bond returns implies that achieving such diversification will require an extraordinarily large portfolio. We present evidence from the market for collateralised debt obligations suggesting that such large portfolios are unattainable. Hence, investors always face the risk that actual losses will exceed expectations. Credit spreads are so wide because they compensate investors for such risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffery D Amato & Eli M Remolona, 2003. "The credit spread puzzle," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:bisqtr:0312e
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt0312e.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt0312e.htm
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Schultz, 2001. "Corporate Bond Trading Costs: A Peek Behind the Curtain," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(2), pages 677-698, April.
    2. Nickell, Pamela & Perraudin, William & Varotto, Simone, 2000. "Stability of rating transitions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 203-227, January.
    3. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
    4. Edwin J. Elton & Martin J. Gruber & Deepak Agrawal & Christopher Mann, 2001. "Explaining the Rate Spread on Corporate Bonds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 247-277, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Simonne Varotto, 2001. "Credit Risk Diversification," ICMA Centre Discussion Papers in Finance icma-dp2001-07, Henley Business School, University of Reading.
    2. Perraudin, William & Taylor, Alex P., 2004. "On the consistency of ratings and bond market yields," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2769-2788, November.
    3. Brian BARNARD, 2017. "Rating Migration and Bond Valuation: Decomposing Rating Migration Matrices from Market Data via Default Probability Term Structures," Expert Journal of Finance, Sprint Investify, vol. 5(1), pages 49-72.
    4. Samir Kadiric & Arthur Korus, 2019. "The effects of Brexit on credit spreads: Evidence from UK and Eurozone corporate bond markets," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 65-102, March.
    5. Brian BARNARD, 2018. "Rating Migration and Bond Valuation: Ahistorical Interest Rate and Default Probability Term Structures," Expert Journal of Finance, Sprint Investify, vol. 6(1), pages 16-30.
    6. Fei Leng & Gregory Noronha, 2019. "Relative value in corporate bond sectors," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 717-735, April.
    7. Brian BARNARD, 2017. "Rating Migration and Bond Valuation: Decomposing Rating Migration Matrices from Market Data via Default Probability Term Structures," Expert Journal of Finance, Sprint Investify, vol. 5, pages 49-72.
    8. Samir Kadiric & Arthur Korus, 2018. "Effects of Brexit on Corporate Yield Spreads: Evidence from UK and Eurozone Corporate Bond Markets," EIIW Discussion paper disbei251, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    9. Bali, Turan G. & Subrahmanyam, Avanidhar & Wen, Quan, 2021. "Long-term reversals in the corporate bond market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(2), pages 656-677.
    10. Maul, D. & Schiereck, D., 2016. "The bond event study methodology since 1974," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 80723, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
    11. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Schuermann, Til & Treutler, Bjorn-Jakob & Weiner, Scott M., 2006. "Macroeconomic Dynamics and Credit Risk: A Global Perspective," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 38(5), pages 1211-1261, August.
    12. Diaz Weigel, Diana & Gemmill, Gordon, 2006. "What drives credit risk in emerging markets? The roles of country fundamentals and market co-movements," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 476-502, April.
    13. Alejandro Revéiz Hérault, "undated". "Factores determinantes de los márgenes entre bonos del gobierno y bonos corporativos en los Estados Unidos," Lecturas en Finanzas 002710, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    14. Menz, Klaus-Michael, 2010. "Market discipline and the evaluation of Euro financial bonds--An empirical analysis," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 315-328, September.
    15. Cowan, Adrian M. & Joutz, Frederick L., 2006. "An unobserved component model of asset pricing across financial markets," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 86-107.
    16. Kucuk, Ugur N., 2010. "Non-default Component of Sovereign Emerging Market Yield Spreads and its Determinants: Evidence from Credit Default Swap Market," MPRA Paper 27428, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Vink, Dennis, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Asset-Backed Securitization," MPRA Paper 10382, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 25 Aug 2008.
    18. Giesecke, Kay & Longstaff, Francis A. & Schaefer, Stephen & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2011. "Corporate bond default risk: A 150-year perspective," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(2), pages 233-250.
    19. Berndt, Antje & Obreja, Iulian, 2007. "The pricing of risk in European credit and corporate bond markets," Working Paper Series 805, European Central Bank.
    20. André Lucas & Siem Jan Koopman, 2005. "Business and default cycles for credit risk," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 311-323.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bis:bisqtr:0312e. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bisssch.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Christian Beslmeisl (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/bisssch.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.