DP2010 Reading Interest Rate and Bond Futures Options' Smiles Around the 1997 French Snap Election

Author(s): Sophie Coutant, Eric Jondeau, Michael Rockinger
Publication Date: October 1998
Keyword(s): futures option pricing, notional, PIBOR, Political Risk, risk neutral density
JEL(s): C52, E43, E52, G13, G14
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2010

The aim of this paper is to compare various methods which extract a Risk Neutral Density (RND) out of PIBOR, as well as of Notional interest rate futures options, and to investigate how traders react to a political event. We first focus on five dates surrounding the 1997 snap election and several methods: Black (1976), a mixture of log-normals (as in Melik and Thomas (1997)), a Hermite expansion (as in Abken, Madan, and Ramamurtie (1996)), and a method based on Maximum Entropy (following Buchen and Kelly (1996)). The various methods give similar RNDs, yet, by allowing for somewhat dirty options prices, by providing a good fit to options prices, and by being fast, the Hermite expansion approach is the retained method for the data at hand. This approach also allows construction of options with a fixed time until maturity. A daily panel of options running from February 1997 to July 1997 reveals that operators in both markets anticipated the snap election a few days before the official announcement, and that a substantial amount of political uncertainty subsisted even a month after the elections. Uncertainty evolved with poll forecasts of who would form the future government.