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Euro at Risk: The Impact of Member Countries Credit Risk on the Stability of the Common Currency


  • Thorsten Lehnert
  • Lamia Bekkour
  • Xisong Jin
  • Fanou Rasmouki
  • Christian Wolff



In this paper, we empirically investigate the impact of the credit risk of Eurozone member countries on the stability of the Euro. In practice, in the absence of eurobonds, euro-area credit risk is induced though the credit default swaps of the member countries. The stability of the euro is examined by decomposing dollareuro exchange rate options into the moments of the risk-neutral distribution. We document that during the sovereign debt crisis changes in the creditworthiness of member countries have significant impact on the stability of the euro. In particular, an increase in member countries credit risk results in an increase of volatility of the dollar-euro exchange rate along with soaring tail risk induced through the riskneutral kurtosis. We find that member countries credit risk is a major determinant of the euro crash risk as measured by the risk-neutral skewness. We propose a new indicator for currency stability by combining the risk-neutral moments into an aggregated risk measure and show that our results are robust to this change in measure. Noticeable is the fact that during the sovereign debt crisis, the creditworthiness of countries with vulnerable fiscal positions is the main riskendangering factor of the euro-stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Thorsten Lehnert & Lamia Bekkour & Xisong Jin & Fanou Rasmouki & Christian Wolff, 2012. "Euro at Risk: The Impact of Member Countries Credit Risk on the Stability of the Common Currency," DEM Discussion Paper Series 12-4, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:luc:wpaper:12-4

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    Cited by:

    1. Lin, Yuehao & Lehnert, Thorsten & Wolff, Christian, 2019. "Skewness risk premium: Theory and empirical evidence," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 174-185.

    More about this item


    European sovereign debt crisis; currency options; credit default swaps; currency stability; risk-neutral distribution; crash risk; tail risk.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange


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