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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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  • Scheicher, Martin
  • Fender, Ingo

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 macroeco-nomic 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) in its original form. JEL Classification: E43, G12, G13, G14

Suggested Citation

  • Scheicher, Martin & Fender, Ingo, 2009. "The pricing of subprime mortgage risk in good times and bad: evidence from the ABX.HE indices," Working Paper Series 1056, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20091056
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu/pub/pdf/scpwps/ecbwp1056.pdf
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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. Ingo Fender & Martin Scheicher, 2008. "The ABX: how do the markets price subprime mortgage risk?," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aldasoro, Iñaki & Barth, Andreas, 2017. "Syndicated loans and CDS positioning," ESRB Working Paper Series 58, European Systemic Risk Board.
    2. Ingo Fender & Janet Mitchell, 2009. "Incentives and tranche retention in securitisation: a screening model," BIS Working Papers 289, Bank for International Settlements.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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