Global Portfolio Rebalancing Under the Microscope

SFI Working Paper No. 17-xx
with Nelson Camanho and Helene Rey


Cross border capital flows and returns on assets are two key variables in international macroeconomics. In this paper we examine the international equity allocations at the fund level and show how differential returns on the foreign and domestic proportion of their portfolios determine rebalancing behavior and trigger capital flows. We document the exchange rate effect of such rebalancing, the heterogeneity of rebalancing across fund types, and its greater intensity under higher exchange rate volatility. The observed dynamics of equity returns, exchange rates and fund-level capital flows is compatible with a model of incomplete FX risk trading in which exchange rate risk partially segments international equity markets.

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