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The “greatest” carry trade ever? Understanding eurozone bank risks

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  • Acharya, Viral V.
  • Steffen, Sascha

Abstract

We show that eurozone bank risks during 2007–2013 can be understood as carry trade behavior. Bank equity returns load positively on peripheral (Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, or GIIPS) bond returns and negatively on German government bond returns, which generated carry until the deteriorating GIIPS bond returns adversely affected bank balance sheets. We find support for risk-shifting and regulatory arbitrage motives at banks in that carry trade behavior is stronger for large banks and banks with low capital ratios and high risk-weighted assets. We also find evidence for home bias and moral suasion in the subsample of GIIPS banks.

Suggested Citation

  • Acharya, Viral V. & Steffen, Sascha, 2015. "The “greatest” carry trade ever? Understanding eurozone bank risks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 215-236.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:115:y:2015:i:2:p:215-236
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jfineco.2014.11.004
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sovereign debt crisis; Banking crisis; Risk-shifting; Regulatory arbitrage; Home bias; Moral suasion;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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