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International Portfolio Holdings and Swiss Franc Asset Returns

  • Peter Kugler
  • Beatrice Weder

This paper revisits the puzzle of low returns on Swiss Franc assets using a new data set of portfolio holdings of residents and non residents at Swiss banks. The main findings are as follows. First, we find that the return anomaly is present only for fixed income assets and not for equity. Second, it is mostly due to a long run deviation from uncovered interest rate parity, not a deviation from purchasing power parity. Third, it is unlikely that foreign demand for Swiss assets (possibly due to banking secrecy) is driving down returns: This demand is quantitatively small especially for Swiss Franc fixed income instruments. A dynamic factor analysis confirms that foreign demand had almost no impact on Swiss Franc asset prices. Finally, we propose a new explanation for low returns on Swiss fixed income assets, namely the diversification benefits offered by these instruments. Applying reversed portfolio optimization to back out the implied returns reveals that the estimated pattern of this returns conforms very well with the observed pattern.

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Article provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 140 (2004)
Issue (Month): III (September)
Pages: 301-325

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Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2004-iii-2
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  1. Dutton, Marilyn Miller, 1993. "Real interest rate parity new measures and tests," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 62-77, February.
  2. Gary Chamberlain & Michael Rothschild, 1982. "Arbitrage, Factor Structure, and Mean-Variance Analysis on Large Asset Markets," NBER Working Papers 0996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kugler, Peter & Neusser, K, 1993. "International Real Interest Rate Equalization: A Multivariate Time-Series Approach," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(2), pages 163-74, April-Jun.
  4. Modjtahedi, Bagher, 1988. "Dynamics of real interest differentials : An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1191-1211, July.
  5. Stilianos Fountas & Jyh-lin Wu, 1998. "Testing for Real Interest Rate Convergence in European Countries," Working Papers 24, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 1998.
  6. Christian Dreger & Christian Schumacher, 2003. "Are Real Interest Rates Cointegrated? Further evidence based on paneleconometric methods," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 139(I), pages 41-53, March.
  7. Stock, James H & Watson, Mark W, 2002. "Macroeconomic Forecasting Using Diffusion Indexes," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(2), pages 147-62, April.
  8. Forni, Mario & Hallin, Marc & Lippi, Marco & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1999. "The Generalized Dynamic Factor Model: Identification and Estimation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2338, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1982. "Are Real Interest Rates Equal Across Countries? An Empirical Investigation of International Parity Conditions," NBER Working Papers 1048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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