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Trading risk and volatility in interest rate swap spreads

  • John Kambhu
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr178.html
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    File URL: http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr178.pdf
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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 178.

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    Date of creation: 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:178
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    1. 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.
    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. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. 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.
    5. Jun Liu & Francis A. Longstaff & Ravit E. Mandell, 2002. "The Market Price of Credit Risk: An Empirical Analysis of Interest Rate Swap Spreads," NBER Working Papers 8990, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. 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.
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