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Country and currency diversification of bond investments: do they really make sense for Swiss investors?

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  • Nicola Carcano

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Abstract

The inclusion of hedged or unhedged foreign currency bonds within a strategic asset allocation is a crucial decision which should be analyzed carefully. The goal of this paper is to provide a contribution to this analysis by focusing particularly on the time horizon of the investment. Results are analyzed from the perspective of a Swiss investor. We find that over the last 21 years, investing in bonds denominated in Swiss Francs has been clearly less efficient in terms of risk-adjusted returns than investing in a hedged global bond portfolio. For short-term investors, we find robust evidence against the hypothesis of investing in unhedged foreign currency bonds. The picture changes dramatically, however, when we consider an investment horizon of 6 years and the normal case of balanced portfolios including also equities and domestic bonds. In this case, the optimal strategy for the period we analyzed would have been to hedge only the exposure to US dollar bonds. Copyright Swiss Society for Financial Market Research 2007

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Carcano, 2007. "Country and currency diversification of bond investments: do they really make sense for Swiss investors?," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 21(1), pages 95-120, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:fmktpm:v:21:y:2007:i:1:p:95-120
    DOI: 10.1007/s11408-006-0034-2
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11408-006-0034-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Y. Campbell & Luis M. Viceira & Joshua S. White, 2003. "Foreign Currency for Long-Term Investors," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages 1-25, March.
    2. Haefliger, Thomas & Waelchli, Urs & Wydler, Daniel, 2002. "Hedging currency risk: Does it have to be so complicated?," MPRA Paper 26451, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nicholas Barberis, 2000. "Investing for the Long Run when Returns Are Predictable," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(1), pages 225-264, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bonds; Currency risk; Hedging; International diversification; Optimal portfolios; F31; G11;

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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