Joseph B. Doyle
699 Boylston Street, 5th floor
Boston MA 02116
Institutional Affiliation: Cornerstone
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2012||Carry Trade and Systemic Risk: Why are FX Options so Cheap?|
with : w18644
In this paper we document first that, in contrast with their widely perceived excess returns, popular carry trade strategies yield low systemic-risk-adjusted returns. In particular, we show that carry trade returns are highly correlated with the return of a VIX rolldown strategy --i.e., the strategy of shorting VIX futures and rolling down its term structure-- and that the latter strategy performs at least as well as beta-adjusted carry trades, for individual currencies and diversified portfolios. In contrast, hedging the carry with exchange rate options produces large returns that are not a compensation for systemic risk. We show that this result stems from the fact that the corresponding portfolio of exchange rate options provides a cheap form of systemic insurance.