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The Carry Trade and Fundamentals: Nothing to Fear But Feer Itself

38 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2009  

Oscar Jorda

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Alan M. Taylor

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; University of Virginia - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2009

Abstract

The carry trade is the investment strategy of going long in high-yield target currencies and short in low-yield funding currencies. Recently, this naive trade has seen very high returns for long periods, followed by large crash losses after large depreciations of the target currencies. Based on low Sharpe ratios and negative skew, these trades could appear unattractive, even when diversified across many currencies. But more sophisticated conditional trading strategies exhibit more favorable payoffs. We apply novel (within economics) binary-outcome classification tests to show that our directional trading forecasts are informative, and out-of-sample loss-function analysis to examine trading performance. The critical conditioning variable, we argue, is the fundamental equilibrium exchange rate (FEER). Expected returns are lower, all else equal, when the target currency is overvalued. Like traders, researchers should incorporate this information when evaluating trading strategies. When we do so, some questions are resolved: negative skewness is purged, and market volatility (VIX) is uncorrelated with returns; other puzzles remain: the more sophisticated strategy has a very high Sharpe ratio, suggesting market inefficiency.

Suggested Citation

Jorda, Oscar and Taylor, Alan M., The Carry Trade and Fundamentals: Nothing to Fear But Feer Itself (November 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15518. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1505842

Oscar Jorda

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-5549382 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://old.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/jorda/

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco ( email )

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States
4159742691 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/economists/oscar-jorda/

Alan M. Taylor (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-1572 (Phone)
530-752-9382 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/amtaylor/

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 400182
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States
(434)-924-3177 (Phone)
(434)-982-2904 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://people.virginia.edu/~amt7u

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://nber.org

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://cepr.org

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