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Title: Essays on interconnected markets
Author: Watugala, Sumudu Weerakoon
ISNI:       0000 0003 7017 7947
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis consists of three essays that explore the dynamics of interconnected markets and examine the relationships between markets, investor behavior, and fundamental characteristics of the firm and the economy. In the first essay, we investigate the role of trade credit links in generating cross-border return predictability between international firms. Using data from 43 countries from 1993 to 2009, we find that firms with high trade credit in producer countries have stock returns that are strongly predictable based on the returns of their associated customer countries. This behavior is especially prevalent among firms with high levels of foreign sales. To better understand this effect we develop an asset pricing model in which firms in different countries are connected by trade credit links. The model offers further predictions about this phenomenon, including stronger predictability during periods of high credit constraints and low uninformed trading volume. We find supportive empirical evidence for these predictions. The second essay investigates the dynamics of commodity futures volatility. I derive the variance decomposition for the futures basis to show how unexpected excess returns result from new information about expected future interest rates, convenience yields, and risk premia. Using data on major commodity futures markets and global bilateral commodity trade, I analyze the extent to which commodity volatility is related to fundamental uncertainty arising from increased emerging market demand and macroeconomic uncertainty, and control for the potential impact of financial frictions introduced by changing market structure and index trading. I find that a higher concentration in the emerging market importers of a commodity is associated with higher futures volatility. Commodity futures volatility is significantly predictable using variables capturing macroeconomic uncertainty. The third essay investigates the differential explanatory power of consumer (importing countries) and producer (exporting countries) risk in explaining the volatility of commodity spot premia and term premia using trade-weighted indices of GDP volatility. Using data for major commodity futures markets, bilateral commodity trade, exchange rates, and GDP for countries trading these commodities, I test hypotheses on the heterogeneous impact of consumer and producer shocks, potentially driven by differences in hedging preferences and investment planning horizons. Producer risk is significant for both short-dated and long-dated maturities, while consumer risk has greater explanatory power for the volatility of the term spread.
Supervisor: Ramadorai, Tarun Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics ; Financial economics ; Finance ; Econometrics ; Macro and international economics ; International business ; asset pricing ; international finance ; market frictions ; international equity markets ; trade credit ; information asymmetry ; customer-supplier relations ; predictability ; commodities ; commodity volatility ; futures markets ; economic uncertainty ; emerging markets ; term structure