Equilibrium Exchange Rate Hedging



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    • Goldman, Sachs & Co. I am grateful for comments on earlier drafts by Michael Adler, Michael Brennan, Bernard Dumas, Kenneth French, Philip Halpern, Roy Henriksson, Robert Hodrick, William Hoskins, Piotr Karasinski, Louis Kingsland, Allan Kleidon, Robert Litterman, Robert Merton, André Perold, Bhaskar Prasad, Barr Rosenberg, Stephen Ross, Eduardo Schwartz, William Sharpe, Bruno Solnik, Richard Stern, René Stulz, and Lee Thomas.


We assume a world like the one that gives the capital asset pricing model, but with many goods and many countries. We assume that investors in a given country have homothetic utility functions with the same weights, and a currency that has a sure end-of-period value using a price index with those weights. Siegel's paradox (derived from Jensen's inequality) makes investors want a positive amount of exchange risk. When average risk tolerance is the same across countries, every investor will hold the same mix of market risk (through the world market portfolio of all assets) and exchange risk (in a diversified basket of foreign currencies). In fact, the ratio of exchange risk to market risk is equal to the average investor's risk tolerance. We can write the ratio of exchange risk to market risk (and the fraction of the market's exchange risk that investors hedge) as depending on an average of world market risk premia, an average of world market volatilities, and an average of exchange rate volatilities. The weights in these averages are the same as the weights of the different countries in the currency basket. Given these averages, the ratio (and the fraction hedged) will not depend directly on exchange rate means or covariances. In equilibrium, we can use the ratio of exchange risk to market risk to measure average risk tolerance: in this model, risk tolerance is observable.