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The Brexit vote and currency markets

Thong M. Dao, Frank McGroarty and Andrew Urquhart

Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, 2019, vol. 59, issue C, 153-164

Abstract: This paper studies the effect of the Brexit vote on the intraday correlation and volatility transmission among major currencies. We find that the vote causes an increase in the correlation among the safe-haven currencies of the Swiss franc and Japanese yen as well as gold, and also find a decrease in their correlation with the directly involved currencies of British sterling and the Euro. These changes are due to the appreciation of the former group and the depreciation of the latter group which represents a flight to quality of investors. We also observe a substantial decrease in volatility transmission between British sterling and the Euro following the Brexit vote due to lower levels of market integration. However the volatility transmission among the currencies has increased in general and their net spillover is positively correlated with their level of volatility and trading activities. Therefore we document the significant impact of the politically important Brexit vote on the high frequency correlation and volatility spillover in the foreign exchange market.

Date: 2019
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