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Do Peso Problems Explain the Returns to the Carry Trade?

  • Burnside, Craig
  • Eichenbaum, Martin
  • Kleshchelski, Isaac
  • Rebelo, Sérgio

Currencies that are at a forward premium tend to depreciate. This `forward-premium puzzle' is an egregious deviation from uncovered interest parity. We document the properties of the carry trade, a currency speculation strategy that exploits this anomaly. This strategy consists of borrowing low-interest-rate currencies and lending high-interest-rate currencies. We first show that the carry trade yields a high Sharpe ratio that is not a compensation for risk. We then consider a hedged version of the carry trade, which protects the investor against large, adverse currency movements. This strategy, implemented with currency options, yields average payoffs that are statistically indistinguishable from the average payoffs to the standard carry trade. We argue that this finding implies that the peso problem cannot be a major determinant of the payoff to the carry trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6873.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6873
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  1. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 11034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Taylor, Mark P, 1987. "Covered Interest Parity: A High-Frequency, High-Quality Data Study," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 54(216), pages 429-38, November.
  3. David Altig & Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Jesper Linde, 2005. "Online Appendix to "Firm-Specific Capital, Nominal Rigidities and the Business Cycle"," Technical Appendices 09-191, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  4. Clinton, Kevin, 1988. "Transactions Costs and Covered Interest Arbitrage: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 358-70, April.
  5. A. Craig Burnside, 2007. "Empirical Asset Pricing and Statistical Power in the Presence of Weak Risk Factors," NBER Working Papers 13357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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