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The pricing of subprime mortgage risk in good times and bad: evidence from the ABX.HE indices

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  • Ingo Fender
  • Martin Scheicher

Abstract

This paper investigates the market pricing of subprime mortgage risk on the basis of data for the ABX.HE family of indices, which have become a key barometer of mortgage market conditions during the recent financial crisis. After an introduction into ABX index mechanics and a discussion of historical pricing patterns, we use regression analysis to establish the relationship between observed index returns and macroeconomic news as well as market-based proxies of default risk, interest rates, liquidity and risk appetite. The results imply that declining risk appetite and heightened concerns about market illiquidity - likely due in part to significant short positioning activity - have provided a sizeable contribution to the observed collapse in ABX prices since the summer of 2007. In particular, while fundamental factors, such as indicators of housing market activity, have continued to exert an important influence on the subordinated ABX indices, those backed by AA and AAA exposures have tended to react more to the general deterioration of the financial market environment. This provides further support for the inappropriateness of pricing models that do not sufficiently account for factors such as risk appetite and liquidity risk, particularly in periods of heightened market pressure. In addition, as related risk premia can be captured by unconstrained investors, ABX pricing patterns appear to lend support to government measures aimed at taking troubled assets off banks' balance sheets - such as the US Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Suggested Citation

  • Ingo Fender & Martin Scheicher, 2009. "The pricing of subprime mortgage risk in good times and bad: evidence from the ABX.HE indices," BIS Working Papers 279, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:279
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul S. Mills & John Kiff, 2007. "Money for Nothing and Checks for Free; Recent Developments in U.S. Subprime Mortgage Markets," IMF Working Papers 07/188, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Bruce Mizrach, 2008. "Jump and Cojump Risk in Subprime Home Equity Derivatives," Departmental Working Papers 200802, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    3. Scheicher, Martin, 2008. "How has CDO market pricing changed during the turmoil? Evidence from CDS index tranches," Working Paper Series 910, European Central Bank.
    4. Coudert, Virginie & Gex, Mathieu, 2008. "Does risk aversion drive financial crises? Testing the predictive power of empirical indicators," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 167-184, March.
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    6. Benjamin Yibin Zhang & Hao Zhou & Haibin Zhu, 2009. "Explaining Credit Default Swap Spreads with the Equity Volatility and Jump Risks of Individual Firms," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 22(12), pages 5099-5131, December.
    7. Jeffery D Amato & Eli M Remolona, 2003. "The credit spread puzzle," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    8. John Y. Campbell & Glen B. Taksler, 2003. "Equity Volatility and Corporate Bond Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(6), pages 2321-2350, December.
    9. Yuliya Demyanyk & Otto Van Hemert, 2011. "Understanding the Subprime Mortgage Crisis," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(6), pages 1848-1880.
    10. Ingo Fender & John Kiff, 2004. "CDO rating methodology: Some thoughts on model risk and its implications," BIS Working Papers 163, Bank for International Settlements.
    11. Allen Frankel, 2006. "Prime or not so prime? An exploration of US housing finance in the new century," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
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    13. Ashcraft, Adam B. & Schuermann, Til, 2008. "Understanding the Securitization of Subprime Mortgage Credit," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 191-309, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gorton, Gary & Metrick, Andrew, 2012. "Securitized banking and the run on repo," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(3), pages 425-451.
    2. Aldasoro, Iñaki & Barth, Andreas, 2017. "Syndicated loans and CDS positioning," ESRB Working Paper Series 58, European Systemic Risk Board.
    3. Ingo Fender & Janet Mitchell, 2009. "Incentives and tranche retention in securitisation: a screening model," BIS Working Papers 289, Bank for International Settlements.
    4. J. Mukuddem-Petersen & M. A. Petersen & T. Bosch & B. De Waal, 2011. "Speculative funding and its impact on subprime mortgage product pricing," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(19), pages 1397-1408.
    5. Contessi, Silvio & De Pace, Pierangelo, 2017. "Mildly Explosive Dynamics in U.S. Fixed Income Markets," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 324, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    6. Mardi Dungey & Gerald Dwyer & Thomas Flavin, 2013. "Systematic and Liquidity Risk in Subprime-Mortgage Backed Securities," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 5-32, February.
    7. Leung, W.S. & Taylor, N. & Evans, K.P., 2015. "The determinants of bank risks: Evidence from the recent financial crisis," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 277-293.
    8. Augustin, Patrick & Subrahmanyam, Marti G. & Tang, Dragon Yongjun & Wang, Sarah Qian, 2014. "Credit Default Swaps: A Survey," Foundations and Trends(R) in Finance, now publishers, vol. 9(1-2), pages 1-196, December.
    9. Ingo Fender & Bernd Hayo & Matthias Neuenkirch, 2011. "Daily CDS pricing in emerging markets before and during the global financial crisis," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201139, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Fender, Ingo & Hayo, Bernd & Neuenkirch, Matthias, 2012. "Daily pricing of emerging market sovereign CDS before and during the global financial crisis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 2786-2794.

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    Keywords

    ABX index; mortgage-backed securities; pricing; risk premia;

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