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The carry of an asset is the return obtained from holding it if positive , or the cost of holding it if negative see also Cost of carry. For instance, commodities are usually negative carry assets, as they incur storage costs or may suffer from depreciation. Imagine corn or wheat sitting in a silo somewhere, not being sold or eaten. This can also refer to a trade with more than one leg, where you earn the spread between borrowing a low carry asset and lending a high carry one; such as gold during financial crisis, due to its safe haven quality.
Carry trades are not usually arbitrages: For instance, the traditional income stream from commercial banks is to borrow cheap at the low overnight rate , i. This works with an upward-sloping yield curve , but it loses money if the curve becomes inverted. Many investment banks, such as Bear Stearns , have failed because they borrowed cheap short-term money to fund higher interest bearing long-term positions.
When the long-term positions default, or the short-term interest rate rises too high or there are simply no lenders , the bank cannot meet its short-term liabilities and goes under.
The currency carry trade is an uncovered interest arbitrage. The term carry trade , without further modification, refers to currency carry trade: It is thought to correlate with global financial and exchange rate stability and retracts in use during global liquidity shortages,  but the carry trade is often blamed for rapid currency value collapse and appreciation.
A risk in carry trading is that foreign exchange rates may change in such a way that the investor would have to pay back more expensive currency with less valuable currency. In theory, according to uncovered interest rate parity , carry trades should not yield a predictable profit because the difference in interest rates between two countries should equal the rate at which investors expect the low-interest-rate currency to rise against the high-interest-rate one.
However, carry trades weaken the currency that is borrowed, because investors sell the borrowed money by converting it to other currencies. The trade largely collapsed in particularly in regard to the yen. The European Central Bank extended its quantitative easing programme in December The EUR was gaining in times of market stress such as falls in China stocks in January , although it was not a traditional safe-haven currency.
Most research on carry trade profitability was done using a large sample size of currencies. The — Icelandic financial crisis has among its origins the undisciplined use of the carry trade. Particular attention has been focused on the use of Euro denominated loans to purchase homes and other assets within Iceland. Most of these loans defaulted when the relative value of the Icelandic currency depreciated dramatically, causing loan payment to be unaffordable.
The US dollar and the Japanese yen have been the currencies most heavily used in carry trade transactions since the s. There is some substantial mathematical evidence in macroeconomics that larger economies have more immunity to the disruptive aspects of the carry trade mainly due to the sheer quantity of their existing currency compared to the limited amount used for FOREX carry trades, [ citation needed ] but the collapse of the carry trade in is often blamed within Japan for a rapid appreciation of the yen.
As a currency appreciates, there is pressure to cover any debts in that currency by converting foreign assets into that currency. This cycle can have an accelerating effect on currency valuation changes. When a large swing occurs, this can cause a carry reversal.
The timing of the carry reversal in contributed substantially to the credit crunch which caused the global financial crisis , though relative size of impact of the carry trade with other factors is debatable. A similar rapid appreciation of the US dollar occurred at the same time, and the carry trade is rarely discussed as a factor for this appreciation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from " https: All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from October Views Read Edit View history.