# International Capital Asset Pricing Model (ICAPM): Definition, Application, and Examples

Last updated 04/11/2024 by

Bamigbola Paul

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Summary:
The international capital asset pricing model (ICAPM) extends the traditional capital asset pricing model (CAPM) to encompass international investments, incorporating foreign exchange risks. It aids in determining the expected return investors require for a given level of risk, factoring in exposure to various currencies.

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## Understanding the international capital asset pricing model (ICAPM)

Investing in international markets brings about unique challenges, one of which is the exposure to foreign exchange risks. The international capital asset pricing model (ICAPM) addresses this by extending the principles of the traditional capital asset pricing model (CAPM) to account for such risks.

### Evolution from CAPM to ICAPM

The CAPM, developed by Nobel laureate William Sharpe, provides a framework for estimating the required return on an investment based on its risk. It considers the relationship between expected return and systematic risk, often represented by beta. However, traditional CAPM does not directly incorporate foreign exchange risks, making it insufficient for analyzing international investments.

### Key components of ICAPM

Incorporating foreign exchange risks, the ICAPM includes additional components compared to the traditional CAPM:
• Risk-free rate: Similar to CAPM, ICAPM starts with a risk-free rate, typically represented by government bond yields, to compensate investors for the time value of money.
• Market risk premium: ICAPM accounts for market risk, measured by beta, and the market risk premium, which reflects the additional return investors expect for taking on systematic risk.
• Foreign currency risk premium: Unlike CAPM, ICAPM introduces a foreign currency risk premium to compensate investors for exposure to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.

### Calculation of expected return in ICAPM

The formula for calculating the expected return in ICAPM builds upon the standard CAPM equation:
$$r_a = r_f + \beta_a (r_m – r_f) + \gamma_a$$
where:
• $$r_a$$ = Expected return on the asset
• $$r_f$$ = Risk-free rate
• $$\beta_a$$ = Beta of the security
• $$r_m$$ = Expected market return
• $$\gamma_a$$ = Foreign currency risk premium
Weigh the risks and benefits
Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks of using ICAPM:
##### Pros
• Accounts for foreign exchange risks
• Provides a more comprehensive analysis of international investments
##### Cons
• Requires accurate estimation of foreign currency risk premiums
• Assumes efficient markets and rational investors, which may not always hold true

Expanding upon the core elements of ICAPM, there are additional components that contribute to its comprehensive analysis of international investments.

One crucial factor often included in ICAPM calculations is the country risk premium. This premium reflects the additional return investors require to compensate for the political, economic, and social risks associated with investing in a specific country. Countries with unstable governments, volatile economies, or geopolitical tensions typically have higher country risk premiums.

### Exchange rate expectations

ICAPM also considers exchange rate expectations when assessing international investments. Investors must forecast future exchange rate movements and incorporate these expectations into their return calculations. Exchange rate forecasts may be based on economic indicators, interest rate differentials, inflation differentials, and geopolitical developments affecting currency markets.

### Comprehensive examples

Consider the following example to illustrate how ICAPM works in practice:
An investor in the United States is considering investing in a German company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Using ICAPM, the investor evaluates the expected return on this investment by incorporating not only the company’s beta and the market risk premium but also the foreign currency risk premium to account for fluctuations between the US dollar and the euro. Additionally, the investor assesses the country risk premium associated with investing in Germany, considering factors such as political stability, economic outlook, and regulatory environment.

## Application of ICAPM in global portfolio management

Global portfolio management involves constructing and managing investment portfolios that include assets from various countries and regions. ICAPM plays a vital role in this process by providing a framework for evaluating the risk and return characteristics of international investments.

### Portfolio diversification

One of the key benefits of incorporating ICAPM into global portfolio management is portfolio diversification. By investing in assets from different countries, investors can reduce their overall portfolio risk through diversification. ICAPM helps investors assess the impact of adding international assets to their portfolios and optimize the allocation of capital across different markets.

### Hedging strategies

ICAPM also informs hedging strategies aimed at managing foreign exchange risk in global portfolios. Through the use of derivatives such as forward contracts, options, and currency swaps, investors can mitigate the impact of adverse exchange rate movements on their international investments. ICAPM guides investors in determining the appropriate level of hedging needed to achieve their desired risk-return objectives.

## Conclusion

The international capital asset pricing model (ICAPM) provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating the risk and return of international investments. By incorporating factors such as foreign currency risk premiums, country risk premiums, and exchange rate expectations, ICAPM enables investors to make informed decisions when constructing and managing global investment portfolios.

### What are the main differences between ICAPM and traditional CAPM?

ICAPM extends traditional CAPM by incorporating foreign exchange risks, such as the foreign currency risk premium and country risk premium, making it more suitable for analyzing international investments.

### How do investors calculate the foreign currency risk premium in ICAPM?

The foreign currency risk premium in ICAPM is calculated based on factors such as interest rate differentials, inflation differentials, economic stability, and geopolitical risks associated with investing in a particular currency.

### Can ICAPM be applied to all types of international investments?

Yes, ICAPM can be applied to various types of international investments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), as long as foreign exchange risks are relevant to the investment.

### What are some limitations of ICAPM?

Limitations of ICAPM include the need for accurate estimation of foreign currency risk premiums, assumptions of efficient markets and rational investors, and challenges in forecasting exchange rate movements with precision.

### How can investors use ICAPM in portfolio management?

Investors can use ICAPM in portfolio management to assess the risk and return characteristics of international assets, optimize portfolio diversification across different markets, and implement hedging strategies to manage foreign exchange risk.

### Are there any real-world examples of ICAPM applications?

Yes, several studies and investment analyses have utilized ICAPM to evaluate the risk-adjusted returns of international investments, assess the impact of foreign exchange risks on portfolio performance, and make informed investment decisions in global markets.

## Key takeaways

• The international capital asset pricing model (ICAPM) extends the traditional CAPM to incorporateforeign exchange risks.
• ICAPM includes a foreign currency risk premium to compensate investors for exposure to currency fluctuations.
• Understanding ICAPM is crucial for evaluating the attractiveness of international investments and managing foreign exchange risks effectively.

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