Currency Risk and Pricing Kernel Volatility

40 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2012 Last revised: 14 Aug 2013

Federico Gavazzoni

INSEAD

Batchimeg Sambalaibat

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

Chris Telmer

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

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Date Written: August 14, 2013

Abstract

A basic tenet of lognormal asset pricing models is that a risky currency is associated with low pricing kernel volatility. Empirical evidence indicates that a risky currency is associated with a relatively high interest rate. Taken together, these two statements associate high-interest-rate currencies with low pricing kernel volatility. We document evidence suggesting that the opposite is true, thus contradicting a fundamental empirical restriction of lognormal models. Our identification strategy revolves around using interest rate volatility differentials to make inferences about pricing kernel volatility differentials. In most lognormal models the two are monotonic functions of one another. A risky currency, therefore, is one with relatively low pricing kernel volatility and relatively low interest rate volatility. In the data, however, we see the opposite. High interest rates are associated with high interest rate volatility. This indicates that lognormal models of currency risk are inadequate and that future work should emphasize distributions in which higher moments play an important role. Our results apply to a fairly broad class of models, including Gaussian affine term structure models and many recent consumption-based models.

Suggested Citation

Gavazzoni, Federico and Sambalaibat, Batchimeg and Telmer, Chris, Currency Risk and Pricing Kernel Volatility (August 14, 2013). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2013/91/FIN. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2179424 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2179424

Federico Gavazzoni (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
F-77305 Fontainebleau Cedex
France

HOME PAGE: http://federicogavazzoni.com

Batchimeg Sambalaibat

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business ( email )

1309 E 10th St
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/sambalaibat/

Christopher I. Telmer

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States
(412) 268-8838 (Phone)
(412) 268-6837 (Fax)

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