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Decomposing the U.S. External Returns Differential

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  • Stephanie E. Curcuru
  • Tomas Dvorak
  • Francis E. Warnock

Abstract

We decompose the returns differential between U.S. portfolio claims and liabilities into the composition, return, and timing effects. Our most striking and robust finding is that foreigners exhibit poor timing when reallocating between bonds and equities within their U.S. portfolios. The poor timing of foreign investors--caused primarily by deliberate trading, not a lack of portfolio rebalancing--contributes positively to the U.S. external returns differential. We find no evidence that the poor timing is driven by mechanical reserve accumulation by emerging market countries; rather, it is driven almost entirely by the poor timing of rich, developed (mainly European) countries. Finally, while poor foreign timing appears to be persistent across subsamples, other terms in our decomposition (the composition and return effects and U.S. timing abroad), as well as the overall differential, are sometimes negative, sometimes positive, and usually indistinguishable from zero.

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  • Stephanie E. Curcuru & Tomas Dvorak & Francis E. Warnock, 2009. "Decomposing the U.S. External Returns Differential," NBER Working Papers 15077, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15077
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    2. Anaya, Pablo & Hachula, Michael & Offermanns, Christian J., 2017. "Spillovers of U.S. unconventional monetary policy to emerging markets: The role of capital flows," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PB), pages 275-295.
    3. Matteo Maggiori, 2017. "Financial Intermediation, International Risk Sharing, and Reserve Currencies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(10), pages 3038-3071, October.
    4. Vincent Vicard, 2019. "The Exorbitant Privilege of High Tax Countries," Working Papers 2019-06, CEPII research center.
    5. Stephanie E. Curcuru & Charles P. Thomas & Francis E. Warnock & Jon Wongswan, 2011. "US International Equity Investment and Past and Prospective Returns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3440-3455, December.
    6. Curcuru, Stephanie E. & Thomas, Charles P. & Warnock, Francis E., 2013. "On returns differentials," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 1-25.
    7. Philippe Bacchetta & Eric Van Wincoop, 2017. "Gradual Portfolio Adjustment: Implications for Global Equity Portfolios and Returns," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 17.05, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    8. Linda S. Goldberg, 2011. "The international role of the dollar: Does it matter if this changes?," Staff Reports 522, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    9. Thomas A. Knetsch & Arne J. Nagengast, 2017. "Penny wise and pound foolish? On the income from Germany’s foreign investments," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 153(4), pages 753-778, November.
    10. Matteo Maggiori, 2013. "The U.S. Dollar Safety Premium," 2013 Meeting Papers 75, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Carol C. Bertaut & Alexandra M. Tabova & Vivian Wong, 2014. "The Replacement of Safe Assets: Evidence from the U.S. Bond Portfolio," International Finance Discussion Papers 1123, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Mileva, Mariya, 2015. "Valuation effects and long-run real exchange rate dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 390-408.
    13. Jörg Mayer, 2021. "The “exorbitant privilege” and “exorbitant duty” of the United States in the international monetary system: implications for developing countries," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 157(4), pages 927-964, November.
    14. Masahiro Endoh, 2012. "Return Differentials of Foreign Investment among OECD Countries," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2012-016, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.
    15. Le, Dieu Thanh & Park, Hail, 2020. "Valuation effects of capital inflows: Evidence from emerging market economies," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C).
    16. Gao Meng & Eric Wincoop, 2020. "A Decomposition of International Capital Flows," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 68(2), pages 362-389, June.
    17. Devereux, Michael B. & Saito, Makoto & Yu, Changhua, 2020. "International capital flows, portfolio composition, and the stability of external imbalances," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance

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