Carry Trade

Definition:

For the bond market, this refers to a trade where you borrow and pay interest in order to buy something else that has higher interest. For example, with a positively sloped term structure (short rates lower than long rates), one might borrow at low short term rates and finance the purchase of long-term bonds. The carry return is the coupon on the bonds minus the interest costs of the short-term borrowing. Of course, if long-term interest rates unexpectedly rose(and long-term bond prices fell as a result), the carry trade could become unprofitable. Indeed, if this occured, there could be a number of investors trying to unwind the carry trade, which would involve selling the long-term bonds. It is possible that this could exacerbate the increase in long-term interest rates, i.e. push the rates even higher. For currency, you buy the currency that has the highest local short term interest rate. For more information on currency, see: Currency Carry Trade.

Investing Essentials


Copyright © 2011 Campbell R. Harvey, Professor of Finance, Fuqua School of Business at Duke University

Term of the Day

Currency Exchange Risk

Uncertainty about the rate at which revenues or costs denominated in one currency can be converted into another currency.

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