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Credit Spread Specification and the Pricing of Spread Options


  • Nicolas Mougeot

    (FAME and Institute of Banking and Financial Management, Ecole des HEC)


This paper presents a simple approach to the pricing of options on spread and some arguments in favor of modelling the spread using its two components instead of the spread itself. We show that, even in a simple Gaussian setting, the spread should not be modelled directly, and that convergence speeds of the two components are crucial parameters. There exist conditions, discussed in this paper, under which the analysis can be reduced to a two-factor model based on the dynamics of the spread itself. Hence, we propose a three-factor model based on the dynamics of the riskless rate and of the two components of the spread. This is done by following the Longstaff (1990) methodology and with the assumption that both the riskless rate and the spread or its two components follow correlated Ornstein-Uhlenbeck processes. Greeks analysis shows that spread options have some very specific features compared to the Black-Scholes-Merton (1973) option model. Moreover, the results show that the mispricing is important and not systematic when one chooses a spread option model based on the dynamics of the spread instead of using the dynamics of its two components. We finally show how the spread option model allows us to price other yield derivatives, like options to exchange a yield for another or the options on the maximum or the minimum of two yields.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Mougeot, "undated". "Credit Spread Specification and the Pricing of Spread Options," FAME Research Paper Series rp14, International Center for Financial Asset Management and Engineering.
  • Handle: RePEc:fam:rpseri:rp14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Vasicek, Oldrich, 1977. "An equilibrium characterization of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 177-188, November.
    2. Vasicek, Oldrich Alfonso, 1977. "Abstract: An Equilibrium Characterization of the Term Structure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 627-627, November.
    3. Robert C. Merton, 2005. "Theory of rational option pricing," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Theory Of Valuation, chapter 8, pages 229-288 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    4. Hull, John & White, Alan, 1990. "Pricing Interest-Rate-Derivative Securities," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(4), pages 573-592.
    5. Black, Fischer & Scholes, Myron S, 1973. "The Pricing of Options and Corporate Liabilities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 637-654, May-June.
    6. Longstaff, Francis A., 1990. "The valuation of options on yields," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 97-121, July.
    7. Margrabe, William, 1978. "The Value of an Option to Exchange One Asset for Another," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 33(1), pages 177-186, March.
    8. Black, Fischer, 1976. "The pricing of commodity contracts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1-2), pages 167-179.
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    More about this item


    Credit spread; Option valuation; Change of probability measure;

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing

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