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Trading risk and volatility in interest rate swap spreads


  • John Kambhu


This paper examines how risk in trading activity can affect the volatility of asset prices. We look for this relationship in the behavior of interest rate swap spreads and in the volume and interest rates of repurchase contracts. Specifically, we focus on convergence trading, in which speculators take positions on a bet that asset prices will converge to normal levels. We investigate how the risks in convergence trading can affect price volatility in a form of positive feedback that can amplify shocks in asset prices. In our analysis, we see empirical evidence of both stabilizing and destabilizing forces in the behavior of interest rate swap spreads that can be attributed to speculative trading activity. We find that the swap spread tends to converge to a long-run level, although trading risk can sometimes cause the spread to diverge from that level.

Suggested Citation

  • John Kambhu, 2004. "Trading risk and volatility in interest rate swap spreads," Staff Reports 178, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:178

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Liu, Jun & Longstaff, Francis A. & Mandell, Ravit E., 2000. "The Market Price of Credit Risk: An Empirical Analysis of Interest Rate Swap Spreads," University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Graduate School of Management qt0zw4f9w6, Anderson Graduate School of Management, UCLA.
    2. Duffie, Darrell & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1997. " An Econometric Model of the Term Structure of Interest-Rate Swap Yields," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1287-1321, September.
    3. Xiong, Wei, 2001. "Convergence trading with wealth effects: an amplification mechanism in financial markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 247-292, November.
    4. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " The Limits of Arbitrage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 35-55, March.
    5. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    6. Lang, Larry H. P. & Litzenberger, Robert H. & Luchuan Liu, Andy, 1998. "Determinants of interest rate swap spreads," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 22(12), pages 1507-1532, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Csaba Csávás & Lóránt Varga & Csaba Balogh, 2008. "The forint interest rate swap market and the main drivers of swap spreads," MNB Occasional Papers 2008/64, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary).
    2. Jun Liu & Francis A. Longstaff & Ravit E. Mandell, 2006. "The Market Price of Risk in Interest Rate Swaps: The Roles of Default and Liquidity Risks," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 79(5), pages 2337-2360, September.
    3. Adam Kobor & Lishan Shi & Ivan Zelenko, 2005. "What Determines U.S. Swap Spreads?," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7272.

    More about this item


    Risk ; Swaps (Finance) ; Repurchase agreements ; Asset pricing;

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