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The “forward premium puzzle” and the sovereign default risk

  • Coudert, Virginie
  • Mignon, Valérie

Carry-trade strategies which consist of buying forward high-yield currencies tend to yield positive excess returns when global financial markets are booming, whereas they generate losses during crises. Firstly, we show that the sovereign default risk, which is taken on by investing in high-yield currencies, may increase the magnitude of the gains during the boom periods and the losses during crises. We empirically test for this hypothesis on a sample of 18 emerging currencies over the period from June 2005 to September 2010, the default risk being proxied by the sovereign credit default swap spread. Relying on smooth transition regression (STR) models, we show that default risk contributes to the carry-trade gains during booms, and worsens the losses during busts. Secondly, we turn to the “Fama regression” linking the exchange-rate depreciation to the interest-rate differential. We propose a nonlinear estimation of this equation, explaining the puzzling evolution of its coefficient by the change in the market volatility along the financial cycle. Then, we introduce the default risk into this equation and show that the “forward bias”, usually evidenced by a coefficient smaller than unity in this regression, is somewhat alleviated, as the default risk is significant to explain the exchange-rate change.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Money and Finance.

Volume (Year): 32 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 491-511

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jimfin:v:32:y:2013:i:c:p:491-511
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30443

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  1. Clarida, Richard & Davis, Josh & Pedersen, Niels, 2009. "Currency carry trade regimes: Beyond the Fama regression," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1375-1389, December.
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  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521068710 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Coudert, Virginie & Couharde, Cécile & Mignon, Valérie, 2011. "Exchange rate volatility across financial crises," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 3010-3018, November.
  6. Adrien Verdelhan, 2005. "A Habit-Based Explanation of the Exchange Rate Risk Premium," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-032, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  7. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Kleshchelski, Isaac & Rebelo, Sérgio, 2008. "Do Peso Problems Explain the Returns to the Carry Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6873, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Engel, Charles, 1996. "The forward discount anomaly and the risk premium: A survey of recent evidence," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 123-192, June.
  9. Huisman, Ronald & Koedijk, Kees & Kool, Clemens & Nissen, Francois, 1998. "Extreme support for uncovered interest parity," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 211-228, February.
  10. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2008. "Carry Trades and Currency Crashes," NBER Working Papers 14473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Marion Kohler, 2010. "Exchange rates during financial crises," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
  12. Eitrheim, Oyvind & Terasvirta, Timo, 1996. "Testing the adequacy of smooth transition autoregressive models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 59-75, September.
  13. Virginie Coudert & Mathieu Gex, 2007. "Does Risk Aversion Drive Financial Crises? Testing the Predictive Power of Empirical Indicators," Working Papers 2007-02, CEPII research center.
  14. 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.
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