The Time-Varying Systematic Risk of Carry Trade Strategies

Charlotte Christiansen, Angelo Ranaldo and Paul Söderlind



JEL classification
F31, G15, G11

carry trade, factor model, FX volatility, liquidity, smooth transition regression, time-varying betas


We explain the currency carry trade performance using an asset pricing model in which factor loadings are regime-dependent rather than constant. Empirical results show that a typical carry trade strategy has much higher exposure to the stock market and is mean-reverting in regimes of high FX volatility. The findings are robust to various extensions, including more currencies, longer samples, transaction costs, international stock indices, and other proxies for volatility and liquidity. Our regime-dependent pricing model provides significantly smaller pricing errors than a traditional model. Thus, the carry trade performance is better explained by its time-varying systematic risk that magnifies in volatile markets-suggesting a partial explanation for the Uncovered Interest Rate Parity puzzle.