We perform non-linearity tests using daily data for leading currencies that include the Australian dollar, British pound, Brazilian real, Canadian dollar, euro, Japanese yen, Mexican peso, and the Swiss franc to resolve the issue of whether these currencies are driven by fundamentals or exogenous shocks to the global economy. In particular, we use a new method of testing for linear and nonlinear lead/lag relationships between time series, introduced by Brooks and Hinich (J Empir Finance 20:385–404, 1999), based on the concepts of cross-correlation and cross-bicorrelation. Our evidence points to a relatively rare episodic nonlinearity within and across foreign exchange rates. We also test the validity of specifying ARCH-type error structures for foreign exchange rates. In doing so, we estimate Bollerslev’s (J Econom 31:307–327, 1986) generalized ARCH (GARCH) model and Nelson’s (1988) exponential GARCH (EGARCH) model, using a variety of error densities [including the normal, the Student-t distribution, and the Generalized Error Distribution (GED)] and a comprehensive set of diagnostic checks. We apply the Brooks and Hinich (1999) nonlinearity test to the standardized residuals of the optimal GARCH/EGARCH model for each exchange rate series and show that the nonlinearity in the exchange rates is not due to ARCH-type effects. This result has important implications for the interpretation of the recent voluminous literature which attempts to model financial asset returns using this family of models.
Global financial markets Currencies Episodic nonlinearity Conditional heteroskedasticity