Credit default swaps and CDS-bond basis with Russian companies: a review and an analysis of the effects of the short selling ban during the second great contraction
This paper reviews the theory of Credit Default Swaps (CDS), the main characteristics of the CDS market, and how to estimate the non-default component of the yield spreads as the basis between the actual CDS premium and the hypothetical CDS premium implied by bond yields. We then analyze the most liquid CDS on Russian companies and compute the relative CDS-Bond basis from 2005 till 2010, paying particular attention to the period when a short selling ban was into effect in Russian financial markets from September 18, 2008 till June 15, 2009. We found that, while the basis was mainly negative before the ban, it then became largely positive during the period the ban was enforced. After the ban was lifted, the basis has started to decrease but still remains positive for all companies examined. This evidence therefore seems to support the hypothesis that a positive basis can be justified by the difficulty of arbitrage caused by short selling costs.
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