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Analysing Cross-Currency Basis Spreads

Working papers
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Download PDF: Working Paper 25

This paper studies the drivers behind the EUR/USD basis swap spreads widening

Authors: Jaroslav Baran and Jiří Witzany



This paper investigates the drivers of cross-currency basis spreads, which were historically close to zero but have widened significantly since the start of the financial crisis. Credit and liquidity risk, as well as supply and demand have often been cited as general factors driving cross-currency basis spreads, however, these spreads may widen beyond what is normally explained by such variables. We suggest market proxies for EUR/USD basis swap spread drivers and build a multiple regression and cointegration model to explain their significance during three different historical periods of basis widening. The most important drivers of the cross-currency basis spreads appear to be short- and medium-term EU financial sector credit risk indicators, and to a slightly lesser extent, short- and medium-term US financial sector credit risk indicators. Another important driver is market volatility for the short-end basis spread, and the EUR/USD exchange rate for the medium term basis spread, and to a lesser extent, the Fed/ECB balance sheet ratio.



Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the ESM. The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the ESM or ESM policy. No responsibility or liability is accepted by the ESM in relation to the accuracy or completeness of the information, including any data sets, presented in this Working Paper.

JEL codes: D53, G01, C31

Source: European Stability Mechanism | Working Paper Series | Volume 2017 | No 25 | July 2017 | 26 Pages

Copyright © European Stability Mechanism, 2017 | All rights reserved. Any reproduction, publication and reprint in the form of a different publication, whether printed or produced electronically, in whole or in part, is permitted only with the explicit written authorisation of the European Stability Mechanism.