US Equity Tail Risk and Currency Risk Premia
53 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2019
Date Written: April 6, 2019
We find that a US equity tail risk factor constructed from out-of-the-money S&P 500 put option prices explains the cross-sectional variation of currency excess returns. Currencies highly exposed to this factor offer a low currency risk premium because they appreciate when US tail risk increases. In a reduced-form model, we show that country-specific tail risk factors are priced in the cross section of currency returns only if they contain a global risk component. Motivated by the intuition from the model and by our empirical results, we construct a novel proxy for a global tail risk factor by buying currencies with high US equity tail beta and shorting currencies with low US tail beta. This factor, along with the dollar risk factor, explains a large portion of the cross-sectional variation in the currency carry and momentum portfolios and outperforms other models widely used in the literature.
Keywords: Equity tail risk; Global tail risk; Currency returns; Carry trade; Currency momentum
JEL Classification: G12, G15, F31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation