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On financial risk and the safe haven characteristics of Swiss franc exchange rates

  • Christian Grisse
  • Thomas Nitschka

We analyse bilateral Swiss franc exchange rate returns in an asset pricing framework to evaluate the Swiss franc's safe haven characteristics. A "safe haven" currency is a currency that offers hedging value against global risk, both on average and in particular in crisis episodes. To explore these issues we estimate the relationship between exchange rate returns and risk factors in augmented UIP regressions, using recently developed econometric methods to account for the possibility that the regression coefficients may be changing over time. Our results highlight that in response to increases in global risk the Swiss franc appreciates against the euro as well as against typical carry trade investment currencies such as the Australian dollar, but depreciates against the US dollar, the Yen and the British pound. Thus, the Swiss franc exhibits safe-haven characteristics against many, but not all other currencies. We find statistically significant time variation in the relationship between Swiss franc returns and risk factors, with this link becoming stronger in times of stress.

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Paper provided by Swiss National Bank in its series Working Papers with number 2013-04.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:snb:snbwpa:2013-04
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  1. Christiansen, Charlotte & Ranaldo, Angelo & Söderlind, Paul, 2011. "The Time-Varying Systematic Risk of Carry Trade Strategies," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(04), pages 1107-1125, September.
  2. Angelo Ranaldo & Paul Söderlind, 2010. "Safe Haven Currencies," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(3), pages 385-407.
  3. Akram, Farooq & Rime, Dagfinn & Sarno, Lucio, 2008. "Arbitrage in the Foreign Exchange Market: Turning on the Microscope," CEPR Discussion Papers 6878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Hansen, Lars Peter & Hodrick, Robert J, 1980. "Forward Exchange Rates as Optimal Predictors of Future Spot Rates: An Econometric Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(5), pages 829-53, October.
  9. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
  10. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2005. "Investing in Foreign Currency is like Betting on your Intertemporal Marginal Rate of Substitution," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-040, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  11. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel & Lasse H. Pedersen, 2009. "Carry Trades and Currency Crashes," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 313-347 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. David K. Backus, 2001. "Affine Term Structure Models and the Forward Premium Anomaly," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 279-304, 02.
  16. Mathias Hoffmann & Rahel Suter, 2010. "The Swiss Franc Exchange Rate and Deviations from Uncovered Interest Parity: Global vs Domestic Factors," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 146(I), pages 349-371, March.
  17. Adrien Verdelhan, 2012. "The Share of Systematic Variation in Bilateral Exchange Rates," 2012 Meeting Papers 763, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  18. Graham Elliott & Ulrich K. Muller, 2006. "Efficient Tests for General Persistent Time Variation in Regression Coefficients," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(4), pages 907-940.
  19. Hanno Lustig & Adrien Verdelhan, 2004. "The Cross-Section of Foreign Currency Risk Premia and US Consumption Growth Risk," 2004 Meeting Papers 136c, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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