European asset swap spreads and the credit crisis

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We examine time-varying behaviour and determinants of asset swap (ASW) spreads for 23 iBoxx European corporate bond indexes from January 2006 to January 2009. The results of a Markov switching model suggest that ASW spreads exhibit regime-dependent behaviour. The evidence is particularly strong for Financial and Corporates Subordinated indexes. Stock market volatility determines ASW spread changes in turbulent periods, whereas stock returns tend to affect spread changes in calm periods. While market liquidity affects spreads only in turbulent regimes the level of interest rates is an important determinant of spread changes in both regimes. Finally, we identify stock returns, lagged ASW spread levels, and lagged volatility of ASW spreads as major drivers of the regime shifts. The results are robust in the extended sample (January 2006 to October 2013) that includes a post-crisis period.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
JournalEuropean Journal of Finance
Early online date21 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • European bonds, asset swaps, credit risk, financial crisis, Markov switching, C13, C32, G12