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The Big Players in the Foreign Exchange Market: Do They Trade on Information or Noise?

  • Wei, S.J.
  • Kim, J.

This paper studies whether there exists private information in the foreign exchange market, and whether speculation reduces or exacerbates volatility. It makes use of a recent data set on foreign currency positions by large market participants that include positions on options and other derivatives. This is the first data set that describes comprehensive currency positions of market participants. There are two main findings. First, not only the absolute value of the options position but also that of spot, forward and futures positions by large participants Granger-causes exchange rate volatility. This suggests that the large participants' currency speculation does not stabilize exchange rate volatility. Second, regression analyses do not find any positive association between large participants' position in a foreign currency with its subsequent appreciation. A non-parametric approach finds some weak support for a positive association but not on a systematic level. This casts into doubt the view that large participants have better information about the future movement of exchange rates. It further strengthens the case that the large players trade on noise rather than on information.

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Paper provided by Chicago - Graduate School of Business in its series Papers with number 5.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:chicbu:5
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, H.G.B. ALEXANDER FOUNDATION GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, CHICAGO ILLINOIS 60637 U.S.A.
Web page: http://gsb.uchicago.edu/

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  1. John B. Corgel & Gerald D. Gay, 1984. "The Impact of GNMA Futures Trading on Cash Market Volatility," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 12(2), pages 176-190.
  2. Flood, Robert P & Rose, Andrew K, 1993. "Fixing Exchange Rates: A Virtual Quest for Fundamentals," CEPR Discussion Papers 838, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ma, Christopher K & Rao, Ramesh P, 1988. "Information Asymmetry and Options Trading," The Financial Review, Eastern Finance Association, vol. 23(1), pages 39-51, February.
  4. De Long, J. Bradford & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Waldmann, Robert J., 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Scholarly Articles 3725552, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. De Long, J Bradford, et al, 1990. " Positive Feedback Investment Strategies and Destabilizing Rational Speculation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 379-95, June.
  6. Cox, Charles C, 1976. "Futures Trading and Market Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1215-37, December.
  7. Powers, Mark J, 1970. "Does Futures Trading Reduce Price Fluctuations in the Cash Markets?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 460-64, June.
  8. Skinner, Douglas J., 1989. "Options markets and stock return volatility," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 61-78, June.
  9. Anthony, Joseph H, 1988. " The Interrelation of Stock and Options Market Trading-Volume Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(4), pages 949-64, September.
  10. Eugene J. Moriarty & Paula A. Tosini, 1985. "Futures Trading and the Price Volatility of GNMA Certificates—Further Evidence," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(4), pages 633-641, December.
  11. Figlewski, Stephen, 1981. "Futures Trading and Volatility in the GNMA Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 36(2), pages 445-56, May.
  12. Damodaran, Aswath & Lim, Joseph, 1991. "The effects of option listing on the underlying stocks' return processes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 647-664, June.
  13. Jeffrey A. Frankel., 1987. "Monetary and Portfolio Balance Models of Exchange Rate Determination," Economics Working Papers 8752, University of California at Berkeley.
  14. Conrad, Jennifer, 1989. " The Price Effect of Option Introduction," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(2), pages 487-98, June.
  15. Lyons, Richard K., 1995. "Tests of microstructural hypotheses in the foreign exchange market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2-3), pages 321-351.
  16. 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 637-54, May-June.
  17. Sanford J. Grossman, 1987. "An Analysis of the Implications for Stock and Futures Price Volatility of Program Trading and Dynamic Hedging Strategies," NBER Working Papers 2357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Van Belle, John J, 1975. "The Behavior of Professional Risk-Bearers: Test of a Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 7(2), pages 253-57, May.
  19. Mahajan, Arvind & Mehta, Dileep, 1986. "Swaps, expectations, and exchange rates," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 7-20, March.
  20. Fieleke, Norman S, 1981. "Foreign-Currency Positioning by U.S. Firms: Some New Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 63(1), pages 35-42, February.
  21. W. Gary Simpson & Timothy C. Ireland, 1982. "The effect of futures trading on the price volatility of gnma securities," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 2(4), pages 357-366, December.
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