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International Portfolio Holdings and Swiss Franc Asset Returns

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  • Kugler, Peter
  • Weder di Mauro, Beatrice

Abstract

This Paper revisits the puzzle of low returns on Swiss franc assets using a new dataset of international portfolio holdings 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 to the observed pattern.

Suggested Citation

  • Kugler, Peter & Weder di Mauro, Beatrice, 2004. "International Portfolio Holdings and Swiss Franc Asset Returns," CEPR Discussion Papers 4467, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4467
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 163-174, April-Jun.
    2. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1984. " Are Real Interest Rates Equal across Countries? An Empirical Investigation of International Parity Conditions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(5), pages 1345-1357, December.
    3. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1983. "Arbitrage, Factor Structure, and Mean-Variance Analysis on Large Asset Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1281-1304, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Mario Forni & Marc Hallin & Marco Lippi & Lucrezia Reichlin, 2000. "The Generalized Dynamic-Factor Model: Identification And Estimation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 540-554, November.
    6. Modjtahedi, Bagher, 1988. "Dynamics of real interest differentials : An empirical investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1191-1211, July.
    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 147-162, April.
    8. Fountas, Stilianos & Wu, Jyh-lin, 1999. "Testing for Real Interest Rate Convergence in European Countries," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 46(2), pages 158-174, May.
    9. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Angelo Ranaldo & Paul Söderlind, 2010. "Safe Haven Currencies," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 385-407.
    2. Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "Global Imbalances or Bad Accounting? The Missing Dark Matter in the Wealth of Nations," CID Working Papers 124, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    3. Ricardo Hausmann & Federico Sturzenegger, 2006. "The Implications of Dark Matter for Assessing the US External Imbalance," CID Working Papers 137, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    4. Jean-Pierre Danthine & Samuel Danthine, 2018. "On the rewards to international investing: a safe haven currency perspective," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 154(1), pages 1-12, December.
    5. Kleiber Christian & Zeileis Achim, 2013. "Reproducible Econometric Simulations," Journal of Econometric Methods, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 89-99, July.
    6. Christoph Sax & Rolf Weder, 2009. "How to Explain the High Prices in Switzerland?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(IV), pages 463-483, December.
    7. Kugler, Peter & Weder, Beatrice, 2005. "Why are Returns on Swiss Franc Asset so Low?," Working papers 2005/08, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    8. Weder, Beatrice & Weder, Rolf, 2009. "Switzerland.s Rise to a Wealthy Nation: Competition and Contestability as Key Success Factors," WIDER Working Paper Series 025, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Jean-Pierre Danthine, 2017. "Taux négatifs: made for Switzerland," PSE Working Papers halshs-01571650, HAL.
    10. Christoph Sax, 2006. "Interest Rates and Exchange Rate Movements: Analyzing Short-term Investments in Long-term Bonds," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 20(2), pages 205-220, June.
    11. Nicolas Stoffels & Cédric Tille, 2007. "Why are Switzerland's foreign assets so low? The growing financial exposure of a small open economy," Staff Reports 283, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    12. Mathias Hoffmann & Rahel Suter, 2010. "The Swiss Franc Exchange Rate and Deviations from Uncovered Interest Parity: Global vs Domestic Factors," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(I), pages 349-371, March.
    13. Ricardo Hausmann & Maya Horii & Federico Sturzenegger, 2008. "The growing current account surpluses in East Asia: the effect of dark matter assets," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 141-161.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    asset returns; portfolio choice; switzerland;

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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