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The Profitability of Currency Speculation

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  • John F. O. Bilson
  • David A. Hsieh

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a post-sample simulation of a speculative strategy using a portfolio of foreign currency forward contracts.The main new features of the speculative strategy are (a)the use of Kalman filters to update the forecasting equation, (b) the allowance for transactions,costs and margin requirements and (c) the endogenous determination of the leveraging of the portfolio. While the forecasting model tended to overestimate profit and underestimate risk, the strategy was still profitable over a three year period and it was possible to reject the hypothesis that the sum of profits was zero. Furthermore, the currency portfolio was found to have an extremely low market risk. Combinations of the speculative currency portfolio with traditional portfolios of U.S. equities resulted in considerable improvements in risk-adjusted returns on capital.

Suggested Citation

  • John F. O. Bilson & David A. Hsieh, 1983. "The Profitability of Currency Speculation," NBER Working Papers 1197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1197
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McKinnon, Ronald I., 1979. "Money in International Exchange: The Convertible Currency System," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195024098.
    2. Bilson, John F O, 1981. "The "Speculative Efficiency" Hypothesis," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 435-451, July.
    3. Taylor, Dean, 1982. "Official Intervention in the Foreign Exchange Market, or, Bet against the Central Bank," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(2), pages 356-368, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sager, Michael & Taylor, Mark P., 2014. "Generating currency trading rules from the term structure of forward foreign exchange premia," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 230-250.
    2. MacDonald, Ronald, 2000. "Is the foreign exchange market 'risky'? Some new survey-based results," Journal of Multinational Financial Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 1-14, January.
    3. Anderson, John A. & Faff, Robert W., 2008. "Point and Figure charting: A computational methodology and trading rule performance in the S&P 500 futures market," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 198-217.
    4. LeBaron, Blake, 1999. "Technical trading rule profitability and foreign exchange intervention," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 125-143, October.
    5. Ledenyov, Dimitri O. & Ledenyov, Viktor O., 2015. "Wave function method to forecast foreign currencies exchange rates at ultra high frequency electronic trading in foreign currencies exchange markets," MPRA Paper 67470, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Marsh, Ian W. & Power, David M., 1996. "A note on the performance of foreign exchange forecasters in a portfolio framework," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 605-613, April.
    7. Kees Koedijk & Clemens Kool, 1993. "Betting on the EMS," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 151-173, June.
    8. John Anderson, 2003. "A Test of Weak-Form Market Efficiency in Australian Bank Bill Futures Calendar Spreads," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 134, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.

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