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Foreign Currency for Long-Term Investors

  • Viceira, Luis
  • Campbell, John
  • White, Joshua

Conventional wisdom holds that conservative investors should avoid exposure to foreign currency risk. Even if they hold foreign equities, they should hedge the currency exposure of these positions and hold only domestic Treasury bills. This paper argues that the conventional wisdom may be wrong for long-term investors. Domestic bills are risky for long-term investors, because real interest rates vary over time and bills must be rolled over at uncertain future interest rates. This risk can be hedged by holding foreign currency if the domestic currency tends to depreciate when the domestic real interest rate falls. Empirically this effect is important and can lead conservative long-term investors to hold more than half their wealth in foreign currency.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3128708.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in The Economic Journal
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3128708
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  1. Mark P. Taylor, 1995. "The Economics of Exchange Rates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 13-47, March.
  2. Karen K. Lewis, 1999. "Trying to Explain Home Bias in Equities and Consumption," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(2), pages 571-608, June.
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  4. William N. Goetzmann & Lingfeng Li & K. Geert Rouwenhorst, 2005. "Long-Term Global Market Correlations," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 1-38, January.
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  8. Marianne Baxter & Urban J. Jermann, 1995. "The International Diversification Puzzle is Worse Than You Think," NBER Working Papers 5019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
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  14. Campbell, John & Viceira, Luis, 1999. "Consumption and Portfolio Decisions When Expected Returns are Time Varying," Scholarly Articles 3163266, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Chacko, George & Viceira, Luis M, 2005. "Dynamic Consumption and Portfolio Choice with Stochastic Volatility in Incomplete Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 4913, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Kenneth A. Froot & Kenneth Rogoff, 1994. "Perspectives on PPP and Long-Run Real Exchange Rates," NBER Working Papers 4952, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  28. repec:fth:harver:1421 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-87, September.
  30. Fama, Eugene F., 1984. "Forward and spot exchange rates," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 319-338, November.
  31. Kim, Tong Suk & Omberg, Edward, 1996. "Dynamic Nonmyopic Portfolio Behavior," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 141-61.
  32. R. C. Merton, 1970. "Optimum Consumption and Portfolio Rules in a Continuous-time Model," Working papers 58, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  33. Bottazzi, Laura & Pesenti, Paolo & van Wincoop, Eric, 1996. "Wages, profits and the international portfolio puzzle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-254, February.
  34. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
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