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Does Economic Policy Uncertainty Predict Exchange Rate Returns and Volatility? Evidence from a Nonparametric Causality-in-Quantiles Test


  • Mehmet Balcilar

    () (Eastern Mediterranean University
    University of Pretoria;
    IPAG Business School)

  • Rangan Gupta

    () (University of Pretoria;
    IPAG Business School)

  • Clement Kyei

    () (University of Pretoria;)

  • Mark E. Wohar

    () (University of Nebraska-Omaha
    Loughborough University)


Abstract Recent studies have analysed the ability of measures of uncertainty to predict movements in macroeconomic and financial variables. The objective of this paper is to employ the recently proposed nonparametric causality-in-quantiles test to analyse the predictability of returns and volatility of sixteen U.S. dollar-based exchange rates (for both developed and developing countries) over the monthly period of 1999:01–2012:03, based on information provided by a news-based measure of relative uncertainty, i.e., the differential between domestic and U.S. uncertainties. The causality-in-quantile approach allows us to test for not only causality-in-mean (1st moment), but also causality that may exist in the tails of the joint distribution of the variables. In addition, we are also able to investigate causality-in-variance (volatility spillovers) when causality in the conditional-mean may not exist, yet higher order interdependencies might emerge. We motivate our analysis by employing tests for nonlinearity. These tests detect nonlinearity, as well as the existence of structural breaks in the exchange rate returns, and in its relationship with the EPU differential, implying that the Granger causality tests based on a linear framework is likely to suffer from misspecification. The results of our nonparametric causality-in-quantiles test indicate that for seven exchange rates EPU differentials have a causal impact on the variance of exchange rate returns but not on the returns themselves at all parts of the conditional distribution. We also find that EPU differentials have predictive ability for both exchange rate returns as well as the return variance over the entire conditional distribution for four exchange rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Mehmet Balcilar & Rangan Gupta & Clement Kyei & Mark E. Wohar, 2016. "Does Economic Policy Uncertainty Predict Exchange Rate Returns and Volatility? Evidence from a Nonparametric Causality-in-Quantiles Test," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 229-250, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:openec:v:27:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s11079-016-9388-x
    DOI: 10.1007/s11079-016-9388-x

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    Cited by:

    1. Ruipeng Liu & Riza Demirer & Rangan Gupta & Mark E. Wohar, 2017. "Do Bivariate Multifractal Models Improve Volatility Forecasting in Financial Time Series? An Application to Foreign Exchange and Stock Markets," Working Papers 201728, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    2. Kazutaka Kurasawa, 2016. "Policy Uncertainty and Foreign Exchange Rates: The DCC-GARCH Model of the US / Japanese Foreign Exchange Rate," International Journal of Economic Sciences, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences, vol. 5(4), pages 1-19, December.
    3. repec:eee:ecmode:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:74-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Plakandaras, Vasilios & Gupta, Rangan & Wohar, Mark E., 2017. "The depreciation of the pound post-Brexit: Could it have been predicted?," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 206-213.
    5. Vasilios Plakandaras & Rangan Gupta & Luis A. Gil-Alana & Mark E. Wohar, 2018. "Are BRICS Exchange Rates Chaotic?," Working Papers 201822, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    6. Christou, Christina & Cunado, Juncal & Gupta, Rangan & Hassapis, Christis, 2017. "Economic policy uncertainty and stock market returns in PacificRim countries: Evidence based on a Bayesian panel VAR model," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 92-102.
    7. Rangan Gupta & Anandamayee Majumdar & Mark E. Wohar, 2017. "The Role of Current Account Balance in Forecasting the US Equity Premium: Evidence From a Quantile Predictive Regression Approach," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 47-59, February.
    8. Goodness C. Aye & Rangan Gupta & Chi Keung Marco Lau & Xin Sheng, 2018. "Is There a Role for Uncertainty in Forecasting Output Growth in OECD Countries? Evidence from a Time Varying Parameter-Panel Vector Autoregressive Model," Working Papers 201823, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    9. Mehmet Balcilar & Esin Cakan & Rangan Gupta, 2016. "Does U.S. News Impact Asian Emerging Markets? Evidence from Nonparametric Causality-in-Quantiles Test," Working Papers 201631, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    10. Nicholas Apergis & Matteo Bonato & Rangan Gupta & Clement Kyei, 2016. "Does Geopolitical Risks Predict Stock Returns and Volatility of Leading Defense Companies? Evidence from a Nonparametric Approach," Working Papers 201671, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    11. Christina Christou & Rangan Gupta & Christis Hassapis & Tahir Suleman, 2017. "The Role of Economic Uncertainty in Forecasting Exchange Rate Returns and Realized Volatility: Evidence from Quantile Predictive Regressions," Working Papers 201774, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    12. Balcilar, Mehmet & Gupta, Rangan & Pierdzioch, Christian, 2016. "Does uncertainty move the gold price? New evidence from a nonparametric causality-in-quantiles test," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 74-80.
    13. Rangan Gupta & Vasilios Plakandaras, 2018. "Efficiency in BRICS Currency Markets using Long-Spans of Data: Evidence from Model-Free Tests of Directional Predictability," Working Papers 201836, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Economic policy uncertainty; Exchange rate returns; Volatility; Nonparametric quantile causality; Developed and emerging markets;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange


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