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On financial risk and the safe haven characteristics of Swiss franc exchange rates

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  • Grisse, Christian
  • Nitschka, Thomas

Abstract

We analyse bilateral Swiss franc exchange rate returns in an asset pricing framework to evaluate the Swiss franc's safe haven characteristics. A “safe haven” currency is a currency that offers hedging value against global risk, both on average and in particular in crisis episodes. To explore these issues we estimate the relationship between exchange rate returns and risk factors in augmented UIP regressions, using recently developed econometric methods to account for the possibility that the regression coefficients may be changing over time. Our results highlight that in response to increases in global risk the Swiss franc appreciates against typical carry trade investment currencies such as the Australian dollar, but depreciates against the US dollar, the Yen and the British pound. Thus, the Swiss franc exhibits safehaven characteristics against many, but not all other currencies. We find statistically significant time variation in the relationship between Swiss franc returns and risk factors, with this link becoming stronger in times of stress.

Suggested Citation

  • Grisse, Christian & Nitschka, Thomas, 2015. "On financial risk and the safe haven characteristics of Swiss franc exchange rates," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 153-164.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:empfin:v:32:y:2015:i:c:p:153-164
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jempfin.2015.03.006
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    Cited by:

    1. De Bock, Reinout & de Carvalho Filho, Irineu, 2015. "The behavior of currencies during risk-off episodes," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 218-234.
    2. Fatum, Rasmus & Yamamoto, Yohei, 2014. "Intra-safe haven currency behavior during the global financial crisis," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 199, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    3. Atanasov, Victoria & Nitschka, Thomas, 2014. "Currency excess returns and global downside market risk," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 268-285.
    4. Pınar Yeşin, 2017. "Capital Flows and the Swiss Franc," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 153(4), pages 403-436, October.
    5. Christian Grisse & Thomas Nitschka, 2016. "Exchange Rate Returns and External Adjustment: Evidence from Switzerland," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 317-339, April.
    6. 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.
    7. Thomas Nitschka, 2014. "What News Drive Variation in Swiss and US Bond and Stock Excess Returns?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 150(II), pages 89-118, June.
    8. David Haab & Thomas Nitschka, 2017. "Predicting returns on asset markets of a small, open economy and the influence of global risks," Working Papers 2017-14, Swiss National Bank.
    9. 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.
    10. Thomas Nitschka, 2014. "Have investors been looking for exposure to specific countries since the global financial crisis? - Insights from the Swiss franc bond market," Working Papers 2014-13, Swiss National Bank.
    11. Michael Funke & Julius Loermann & Richhild Moessner, 2017. "The discontinuation of the EUR/CHF minimum exchange rate in January 2015: was it expected?," BIS Working Papers 652, Bank for International Settlements.
    12. Streit, Daniel, 2016. "Firm-level effects of asymmetric intervention in foreign exchange markets: Evidence from the Swiss currency floor," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 289-312.
    13. Feld, Lars P. & Köhler, Ekkehard A., 2015. "Is Switzerland an interest rate island after all? Time series and non-linear switching regime evidence," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 15/08, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    14. Adnen Ben Nasr & Matteo Bonato & Riza Demirer & Rangan Gupta, 2018. "Investor Sentiment and Crash Risk in Safe Havens," Working Papers 201804, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    15. Matthias Gubler, 2014. "Carry Trade Activities: A Multivariate Threshold Model Analysis," Working Papers 2014-06, Swiss National Bank.
    16. Fatum, Rasmus & Yamamoto, Yohei, 2016. "Intra-safe haven currency behavior during the global financial crisis," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 49-64.
    17. Pinar Yesin, 2016. "Exchange Rate Predictability and State-of-the-Art Models," Working Papers 2016-02, Swiss National Bank.
    18. Alexandra Janssen & Rahel Studer, 2014. "The Swiss franc's honeymoon," ECON - Working Papers 170, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jan 2017.
    19. repec:eee:glofin:v:35:y:2018:i:c:p:82-96 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. repec:spr:sjecst:v:154:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1186_s41937-017-0014-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. repec:eee:jimfin:v:83:y:2018:i:c:p:44-54 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Thomas Nitschka, 2016. "Risk premia on Swiss government bonds and sectoral stock indexes during international crises:," Aussenwirtschaft, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economics Research, vol. 67(02), pages 51-67, August.
    23. Adrian Jäggi & Martin Schlegel & Attilio Zanetti, 2016. "Macroeconomic surprises, market environment and safe-haven currencies," Working Papers 2016-15, Swiss National Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Exchange rate; Risk factors; Safe haven; Swiss franc; Uncovered interest rate parity;

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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