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Measuring the Volatility in U.S. Treasury Benchmarks and Debt Instruments

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  • Suhejla Hoiti
  • Esfandiar Maasoumi
  • Michael McAleer
  • Daniel Slottje

Abstract

As U.S. Treasury securities carry the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, they are free of default risk. Thus, their yields are risk-free rates of return, which allows the most recently issued U.S. Treasury securities to be used as a benchmark to price other fixedincome instruments. This paper analyzes the time series properties of interest rates on U.S. Treasury benchmarks and related debt instruments by modelling the conditional mean and conditional volatility for weekly yields on 12 Treasury Bills and other debt instruments for the period 8 January 1982 to 20 August 2004. The conditional correlations between all pairs of debt instruments are also calculated. These estimates are of interest as they enable an assessment of the implications of modelling conditional volatility on forecasting performance. The estimated conditional correlation coefficients indicate whether there is specialization, diversification or independence in the debt instrument shocks. Constant conditional correlation estimates of the standardized shocks indicate that the shocks to the first differences in the debt instrument yields are generally high and always positively correlated. In general, the primary purpose in holding a portfolio of Treasury Bills and other debt instruments should be to specialize on instruments that provide the largest returns. Tests for Stochastic Dominance are consistent with these findings, but find somewhat surprising rankings between debt instruments with implications for portfolio composition. 30 year treasuries, Aaa bonds and mortgages tend to dominate other instruments, at least to the second order.

Suggested Citation

  • Suhejla Hoiti & Esfandiar Maasoumi & Michael McAleer & Daniel Slottje, 2005. "Measuring the Volatility in U.S. Treasury Benchmarks and Debt Instruments," DEA Working Papers 14, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Departament d'Economía Aplicada.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubi:deawps:14
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo Alfaro & Andrés Sagner, 2011. "Stress Tests for Banking Sector: A Technical Note," Money Affairs, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Latinoamericanos, vol. 0(2), pages 143-162, July-Dece.
    2. Abdul Hakim & Michael McAleer, 2010. "Modelling the interactions across international stock, bond and foreign exchange markets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(7), pages 825-850.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Treasury bills; debt instruments; risk; conditional volatility; conditional correlation; asymmetry; specialization; diversification; independence; forecasting.;

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