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An Empirical Examination of the Convexity Bias in the Pricing of Interest Rate Swaps

  • Marti G. Subrahmanyam
  • Anurag Gupta

This paper examines the convexity bias introduced by pricing interest rate swaps off the Eurocurrency futures curve and the incorporation of this bias in prices over time. The convexity bias arises because of the difference between a futures versus a forward contract on interest rates, since the payoff to the latter is non-linear in interest rates. Using daily data from 1987-1996, the differences between market swap rates and the swap rates implied from Eurocurrency futures prices are studied for the four major interest rate swaps markets - $, ',', and DM - and implied rates cannot be explained by default risk differences, term structure effects, liquidity differences or information asymmetries between the swaps and the futures markets. Using a calibrated term structure model, the theoretical value of the convexity bias is found to be comparable to the empirically observed spread. This is evidence of mispricing of swap rates during the earlier years of the study, with a gradual elimination of that mispricing by incorporation of a convexity adjustment in swap pricing over time.

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Paper provided by New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business- in its series New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires with number 98-068.

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Date of creation: Apr 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fth:nystfi:98-068
Contact details of provider: Postal: U.S.A.; New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics . 44 West 4th Street. New York, New York 10012-1126
Phone: (212) 998-0100
Web page: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/finance/

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  1. Cox, John C. & Ingersoll, Jonathan Jr. & Ross, Stephen A., 1981. "The relation between forward prices and futures prices," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 321-346, December.
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  6. Sun, Tong-sheng & Sundaresan, Suresh & Wang, Ching, 1993. "Interest rate swaps: An empirical investigation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 77-99, August.
  7. Hull, John & White, Alan, 1993. "One-Factor Interest-Rate Models and the Valuation of Interest-Rate Derivative Securities," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(02), pages 235-254, June.
  8. Heath, David & Jarrow, Robert & Morton, Andrew, 1992. "Bond Pricing and the Term Structure of Interest Rates: A New Methodology for Contingent Claims Valuation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(1), pages 77-105, January.
  9. Jarrow, Robert A. & Oldfield, George S., 1981. "Forward contracts and futures contracts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 373-382, December.
  10. Meulbroek, Lisa, 1992. " A Comparison of Forward and Futures Prices of an Interest Rate-Sensitive Financial Asset," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(1), pages 381-96, March.
  11. McCulloch, J Huston, 1971. "Measuring the Term Structure of Interest Rates," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 19-31, January.
  12. Richard, Scott F. & Sundaresan, M., 1981. "A continuous time equilibrium model of forward prices and futures prices in a multigood economy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 347-371, December.
  13. Elton, Edwin J & Gruber, Martin J & Rentzler, Joel, 1984. "Intra-Day Tests of the Efficiency of the Treasury Bill Futures Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 129-37, February.
  14. Minton, Bernadette A., 1997. "An empirical examination of basic valuation models for plain vanilla U.S. interest rate swaps," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 251-277, May.
  15. Grinblatt, Mark & Jegadeesh, Narasimhan, 1996. " Relative Pricing of Eurodollar Features and Forward Contracts," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1499-1522, September.
  16. 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.
  17. Sundaresan, Suresh, 1991. "Futures Prices on Yields, Forward Prices, and Implied Forward Prices from Term Structure," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(03), pages 409-424, September.
  18. Avraham Kamara, 1988. "Market Trading Structures and Asset Pricing: Evidence from the Treasury- Bill Markets," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 1(4), pages 357-375.
  19. Vasicek, Oldrich, 1977. "An equilibrium characterization of the term structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 177-188, November.
  20. Cox, John C & Ingersoll, Jonathan E, Jr & Ross, Stephen A, 1985. "A Theory of the Term Structure of Interest Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(2), pages 385-407, March.
  21. Cooper, Ian A & Mello, Antonio S, 1991. " The Default Risk of Swaps," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 46(2), pages 597-620, June.
  22. Robert W. Kolb & Gerald D. Gay, 1985. "A Pricing Anomaly In Treasury Bill Futures," Journal of Financial Research, Southern Finance Association;Southwestern Finance Association, vol. 8(2), pages 157-167, 06.
  23. Hull, John & White, Alan, 1990. "Pricing Interest-Rate-Derivative Securities," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(4), pages 573-92.
  24. Duffie, Darrell & Huang, Ming, 1996. " Swap Rates and Credit Quality," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 51(3), pages 921-49, July.
  25. Rendleman, Richard J, Jr & Carabini, Christopher E, 1979. "The Efficiency of the Treasury Bill Futures Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 34(4), pages 895-914, September.
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