Credit Derivatives

Static pricing-hedging duality for credit default swaps and the negative basis arbitrage

Assuming the absence of arbitrage in a single-name credit risk model, it is shown how to replicate the risk-free bank account until a credit event by a static portfolio of a bond and infinitely many credit default swaps (CDS). From the viewpoint of classical arbitrage pricing theory this static portfolio can be viewed as the solution of a credit risk hedging problem whose dual problem is to price the bond consistently with the CDS. This duality is maintained when the risk-free rate is shifted parallelly. In practice, there is a unique parallel shift that is consistent with observed market prices for bond and credit default swaps. The resulting, risk-free trading strategy in case of a positive shift earns more than the risk-free rate, is referred to as negative basis arbitrage in the market, and the parallel shift defined in this way is a scientifically well-justified definition for what the market calls negative basis. In economic terms, it is a premium for taking the un-modeled residual risks of a bond investment after interest rate risk and credit risk are hedged away, predominantly these are liquidity risk and legal risk.

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