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Credit Default Swap Trading Strategies

©2010 Diplomarbeit 82 Seiten


Credit default swaps are by far the most often traded credit derivatives and the credit default swap markets have seen tremendous growth over the past two decades. Put simply, a credit default swap is a tradeable contract that provides insurance against the default of a certain debtor.
Initially, when the first form of a credit default swap (CDS) was traded in 1991, they were mainly used by commercial banks in order to lay off credit risk to insurance companies. However, focus shifted in the subsequent years as new players entered the market. Hedge funds became big players, money managers and reinsurers entered, and banks started to not only buy protection on their assets but also sell protection in order to diversify their portfolios. All this led to today’s CDS market being dominated by investors rather than banks and, as a consequence, CDSs are now structured to meet investors’ needs instead of those of the banks.
Over the same time as this shift to an investor orientated market took place, CDS markets grew at an astonishing rate with notional amount outstanding pretty much doubling every year until peaking in the second half of 2007 at USD 62,173.20 billions. The need to effciently transfer credit risk as well as the increasing standardization of CDS contracts by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association propelled this development. Only in 2008 did the notional amount outstanding in CDSs retract for the first time and come down to USD 31,223.10 billion in the first half of 2009. A partial reason was the full blown financial crisis in which CDSs also played a prominent role.
The demise of Lehman Brothers, for example, triggered roughly USD 400 billion in protection payments and American International Group needed to be bailed out in 2008 because it had sold too much CDS protection. Amongst other concerns, these incidents highlight the systemic importance of CDSs. Combined with the phenomenal growth of CDS markets, this makes CDSs a highly relevant component of the current ?nancial environment and a fruitful subject for academic research.
Today, just like most other financial instruments, CDSs serve a multitude of purposes spanning hedging, speculation, and arbitrage. The aim of this thesis is to explore these uses further and answer the following research questions:
What CDS trading strategies are commonly used and how does a selection of these strategies – CDS curve trades including forward CDSs, […]


ISBN (eBook)
1.2 MB
Institution / Hochschule
Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien – Department for Finance, Accounting and Statistics, Betriebswirschaftslehre
2010 (Juli)
derivate credit risk speculation hedging

Titel: Credit Default Swap Trading Strategies