FX carry strategies (part 2): Hedging

There is often a strong case for hedging FX carry trades against unrelated global market factors. It is usually not difficult to hedge currency positions – at least partly – against global directional risk and against moves in the EURUSD exchange rate. The benefits of these hedges are [1] more idiosyncratic and diversifiable currency trades and, [2] a more realistic assessment of the actual currency-specific subsidy or risk premium implied by carry, by applying hedge costs to the carry measure. Empirical analysis suggests that regression-based hedging improves Sharpe ratios, reduces risk correlation and removes downside skews in the returns of global FX carry strategies. Hedging works well in conjunction with “economically adjusted” FX carry and even benefits the performance of relative FX carry strategies that have no systematic risk correlation to begin with.