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The discontinuation of the EUR/CHF minimum exchange rate in January 2015: was it expected?

Summary:
By Michael Funke, Julius Loermann and Richhild Moessner We derive risk-neutral probability densities for future euro/Swiss franc exchange rates as implied by option prices. We find that the credibility of the Swiss franc floor somewhat decreased as the spot exchange rate approached the lower bound of 1.20 CHF per euro. We also compare the forecasting performance of a random walk benchmark model with an error-correction model (ECM) augmented with option-implied break probabilities of breaching the currency floor. We find some evidence that the augmented ECM has an informational advantage over the random walk when using one-month break probabilities. But we find that one-month option-implied densities

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We derive risk-neutral probability densities for future euro/Swiss franc exchange rates as implied by option prices. We find that the credibility of the Swiss franc floor somewhat decreased as the spot exchange rate approached the lower bound of 1.20 CHF per euro. We also compare the forecasting performance of a random walk benchmark model with an error-correction model (ECM) augmented with option-implied break probabilities of breaching the currency floor. We find some evidence that the augmented ECM has an informational advantage over the random walk when using one-month break probabilities. But we find that one-month option-implied densities cannot predict the entire range of exchange rate realizations.

JEL classification: C53, F31, F37

Keywords: Swiss franc, forecasting, options, risk-neutral probability densities

International Settlement
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is an international company limited by shares owned by central banks which "fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks". The BIS carries out its work through subcommittees, the secretariats it hosts and through an annual general meeting of all member banks. It also provides banking services, but only to central banks and other international organizations. It is based in Basel, Switzerland, with representative offices in Hong Kong and Mexico City.

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