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Market Microstructure and the Profitability of Currency Trading

  • Carol Osler


    (International Business School, Brandeis University)

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    Currency trading is a vast and highly profitable business. This paper examines the profitability of two popular currency trading strategies in light of currency-market microstructure research. The carry-trade strategy involves borrowing a low-interest currency and investing the proceeds in a high-interest currency. Technical trading strategies are determined exclusively on the basis of past asset prices and trading volumes. Under the efficient markets hypothesis, neither of these approaches to speculative trading should produce excess returns. The review shows that the profitability of carry-trade investing and technical trading strategies can represent rational long-run equilibria given the structure of currency markets and the incentives and constraints faced by traders.

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    File Function: First version, 2012
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    Paper provided by Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School in its series Working Papers with number 48.

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    Length: 47 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:48
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    1. Richard Clarida & Josh Davis & Niels Pedersen, 2009. "Currency Carry Trade Regimes: Beyond the Fama Regression," NBER Working Papers 15523, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Moore, Michael J. & Payne, Richard, 2011. "On the sources of private information in FX markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1250-1262, May.
    3. Rime, Dagfinn & Sarno, Lucio & Sojli, Elvira, 2010. "Exchange rate forecasting, order flow and macroeconomic information," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 72-88, January.
    4. Harald Hau & William Killeen & Michael Moore, 2002. "How has the euro changed the foreign exchange market?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(34), pages 149-192, 04.
    5. Michael J. Dueker & Christopher J. Neely, 2006. "Can Markov switching models predict excess foreign exchange returns?," Working Papers 2001-021, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    6. Dilip Abreu & Markus K. Brunnermeier, 2003. "Bubbles and Crashes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 173-204, January.
    7. Geir H. BjĂžnnes & Carol L. Osler & Dagfinn Rime, 2009. "Asymmetric information in the interbank foreign exchange market," Working Paper 2008/25, Norges Bank.
    8. Dan Bernhardt & Vladimir Dvoracek & Eric Hughson & Ingrid M. Werner, 2005. "Why Do Larger Orders Receive Discounts on the London Stock Exchange?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 1343-1368.
    9. Simon, David P., 1994. "Further evidence on segmentation in the treasury bill market," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 139-151, January.
    10. Della Corte, Pasquale & Sarno, Lucio & Tsiakas, Ilias, 2010. "Spot and Forward Volatility in Foreign Exchange," CEPR Discussion Papers 7893, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Campbell R. Harvey & Akhtar Siddique, 2000. "Conditional Skewness in Asset Pricing Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1263-1295, 06.
    12. Menkhoff, Lukas & Sarno, Lucio & Schmeling, Maik & Schrimpf, Andreas, 2009. "Carry Trades and Global FX Volatility," MPRA Paper 14728, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Michael J. Sager & Mark P. Taylor, 2006. "Under the microscope: the structure of the foreign exchange market," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(1), pages 81-95.
    14. Breedon, Francis & Vitale, Paolo, 2010. "An empirical study of portfolio-balance and information effects of order flow on exchange rates," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 504-524, April.
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