The world’s savings and investments are imbalanced. While some countries persistently borrow over time, others act like bankers to the world – lending year in and year out. This column argues that these imbalances matter for asset pricing in financial markets, and are key to understanding excess returns in currency markets.
Pasquale Della Corte, Steven Riddiough, Lucio Sarno, 29 February 2016
Julián Caballero, Ugo Panizza, Andrew Powell, 02 April 2014
In recent years credit growth in Latin America has been very strong, and countries have become more reliant on foreign bond issuances. This column argues that these phenomena are linked, and may have led to vulnerabilities which domestic and international supervisors are not well-equipped to assess. There is no systematic information on firms’ currency mismatches and hedging activities, and none that includes those of subsidiaries that may be located in other jurisdictions, preventing an accurate analysis of the true risks.
Olivier Accominotti, David Chambers, 18 March 2014
John Maynard Keynes traded currencies using a discretionary and fundamentals-based strategy. This column shows that he underperformed rules-based carry, momentum and value strategies. The returns to these strategies in the 1920s and 1930s were time-varying and are in part explained by the contemporary limits to arbitrage. The excess returns might also represent compensation for exposure to the considerable macroeconomic volatility of the time.
Lukas Menkhoff, Lucio Sarno , Maik Schmeling, Andreas Schrimpf, 23 March 2011
The carry trade – borrowing in currencies with low interest rates and investing in currencies with high interest rates – has been a surprising hit for decades. This column provides empirical evidence suggesting that the mysteriously high returns this generates can actually be explained as compensation for the volatility risk undertaken.
Maurizio Habib, Livio Stracca, 30 January 2011
What makes a safe-haven currency? This column analyses a panel of 52 currencies in advanced and emerging countries over the past 25 years. It finds that safe-haven status is not determined by the interest rate spread, as emphasised in the carry trade literature, but by the net foreign asset position, which is an indicator of country risk and external vulnerability.
Pasquale Della Corte, Lucio Sarno , Ilias Tsiakas, 26 January 2011
The carry trade in foreign currency has attracted considerable attention from academics and practitioners. This column presents evidence of a new carry trade strategy – this time speculating on the volatility of foreign exchange. This is done by buying or selling forward volatility agreements. It suggests that investors following the new carry trade can do extremely well – regardless of whether the value of these currencies go up or down.
Raphael Auer, Simon Wehrmüller, 20 April 2009
Western bank exposures in Eastern Europe are an issue that is increasingly in policymakers’ sights. This column estimates the losses arising to the non-bank sector and government from foreign currency-denominated debt in Central and Eastern Europe. It also estimates the effect that these losses have had on the market-implied assessment of sovereign default risk. Both losses are reflected in wider CDS spreads, but government losses have a bigger impact.
Martin Eichenbaum, 13 February 2009
Martin Eichenbaum of Northwestern University talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about the carry trade, a currency speculation strategy in which an investor borrows low-interest-rate currencies and lends high-interest-rate currencies. The interview was recorded at the American Economic Association meetings in San Francisco in January 2009.
Raphael Auer, Martin Brown, Andreas Fischer, Marcel Peter, 29 January 2009
Some policymakers are worried that Central and Eastern European firms and households that recently joined the carry trade are unprepared for the financial crisis’s macroeconomic shocks. This column presents micro-level evidence that the currency exposure is concentrated in households and firms that are better equipped to bear the risks, suggesting that aggregate risks may be smaller than feared.
Richard Portes, 15 November 2007
The global financial system shows signs of stress – turmoil, not a systemic financial crisis. Risk is being repriced and the unwinding will take some time. Now is the time to think carefully about longer-term reforms needed to improve the stability of the international financial system.