Getting beyond carry trade: What makes a safe haven currency?
The main objective of this paper is to investigate the fundamentals of safe haven currencies, which are those currencies that provide an hedge for a reference portfolio of risky assets, conditional on shocks to global risk aversion. We analyse a large panel of 52 currencies in advanced and emerging countries over almost 25 years of data. We find that only a few factors are robustly associated to a safe haven status, most notably the net foreign asset position, an indicator of external vulnerability, and whether currencies have been a good hedge in the past. In addition, the currencies of large, less financially open economies are a good hedge against global risk aversion shocks. By contrast, the level of the interest rate spread vs. the US is significant only during the latest crisis. Finally, we find some evidence of non-linearity as the importance of the fundamentals is stronger during crisis times.