Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Zurich 124
We sort currencies into portfolios by countries' consumption growth over the past year. The excess return of the highest-consumption-growth currency portfolio over the portfolio of lowest-consumption-growth currencies is positive on average, compensating investors for large negative returns during world-wide downturns. This return - our consumption carry factor - prices the cross-section of portfolio-sorted and of bilateral currency returns. Our results rest on minimal theoretical restrictions but can be interpreted in a habit formation model: sorting currencies on past consumption growth approximates sorting countries based on risk aversion and low (high) risk-aversion currencies depreciate (appreciate) in times of global turmoil.