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A value at risk analysis of credit default swaps


  • Scheicher, Martin
  • Raunig, Burkhard


We study the risk of holding credit default swaps (CDS) in the trading book. In particular, we compare the Value at Risk (VaR) of a CDS position to the VaR for investing in the respective firm's equity. Our sample consists of CDS – stock price pairs for 86 actively traded firms over the period from March 2003 to October 2006. We find that the VaR for a stock is usually far larger than the VaR for a position in the same firm's CDS. However, the distance between CDS VaR and equity VaR is markedly smaller for firms with high credit risk. The distance also declines for longer holding periods. We also observe a positive correlation between CDS and equity VaR.

Suggested Citation

  • Scheicher, Martin & Raunig, Burkhard, 2008. "A value at risk analysis of credit default swaps," Discussion Paper Series 2: Banking and Financial Studies 2008,12, Deutsche Bundesbank.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:bubdp2:7322

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ericsson, Jan & Jacobs, Kris & Oviedo, Rodolfo, 2009. "The Determinants of Credit Default Swap Premia," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(01), pages 109-132, February.
    2. Rosenberg, Joshua V. & Schuermann, Til, 2006. "A general approach to integrated risk management with skewed, fat-tailed risks," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 569-614, March.
    3. Merton, Robert C, 1974. "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 29(2), pages 449-470, May.
    4. Jeffery D Amato & Eli M Remolona, 2003. "The credit spread puzzle," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, December.
    5. Acharya, Viral V. & Johnson, Timothy C., 2007. "Insider trading in credit derivatives," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 110-141, April.
    6. Jing-zhi Huang & Hao Zhou, 2008. "Specification analysis of structural credit risk models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Kwan, Simon H., 1996. "Firm-specific information and the correlation between individual stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 63-80, January.
    8. Haibin Zhu & Benjamin Yibin Zhang & Hao Zhou, 2005. "Explaining credit default swap spreads with equity volatility and jump risks of individual firms," BIS Working Papers 181, Bank for International Settlements.
    9. Matthew Pritsker, 2001. "The hidden dangers of historical simulation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item


    Credit default swap; Value at Risk; Capital structure arbitrage;

    JEL classification:

    • G13 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Contingent Pricing; Futures Pricing
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • E43 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects

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