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Exploring the Safety Premium of Safe Assets
Investors are usually willing to pay a higher price, known as a premium, for a safe fixed-income asset in return for the convenience of its high quality and liquidity. A study of Swiss government bonds—widely considered to be extremely safe but not particularly liquid—can give some insights into how quality affects the premium. The large and variable safety premium of these bonds surged to persistently higher levels following the launch of the euro. However, subsequent large asset purchases by the European Central Bank depressed the safety premium.
The Safety Premium of Safe Assets
Safe assets usually trade at a premium thanks to their high credit quality and deep liquidity. To understand the role of credit quality for such premia, we focus on Swiss Confederation bonds, which are extremely safe, but not particularly liquid. We therefore refer to their premia as safety premia and quantify them using an arbitrage-free term structure model that accounts for time-varying premia in individual bond prices. The estimation results show that Swiss safety premia are large and exhibit long-lasting trends. Furthermore, regression analysis suggests that they shifted upwards in a ...