Covariance and Correlation in International Equity Returns: A Value-at-Risk Approach

Erasmus University Rotterdam Working Paper No. 004

Posted: 16 Nov 2000

See all articles by Rachel A.J. Pownall

Rachel A.J. Pownall

Tilburg University - Department of Finance; Maastricht University - Department of Finance

Kees C. G. Koedijk

Tilburg University - Department of Finance

Paul Kofman

The University of Melbourne

Date Written: May 2000

Abstract

Benefits to portfolio diversification depend crucially on correct correlation estimates, hence it is of great importance to both risk management and portfolio optimisation that the exact nature of the correlation structure between international financial assets is understood. Recent discussion on the correlation of international equity returns has focussed on the issue of whether extreme movements in international financial markets are more highly correlated than usual returns. This implies a reduction in the benefits from portfolio diversification since extreme returns are more likely to occur with greater simultaneity. Using the Value-at-Risk methodology we are able to measure the quantile correlation structure implicit in international asset returns in a simple manner without having to resort to fully parametric modelling. We illustrate that the extraction of the quantile covariance structure from this quantile correlation structure is non-trivial. Using daily data on stock market indices for a variety of countries we observe how the correlation and covariance structure changes as we move into the tails of the return distribution. We find for extreme stock market movements the benefits to international diversification are significantly curtailed even after discarding spurious correlation changes.

JEL Classification: C1, F21, G11

Suggested Citation

Pownall, Rachel Ann Jane and Koedijk, Kees G. and Kofman, Paul, Covariance and Correlation in International Equity Returns: A Value-at-Risk Approach (May 2000). Erasmus University Rotterdam Working Paper No. 004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=228230

Rachel Ann Jane Pownall (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Maastricht University - Department of Finance ( email )

Maastricht, 6200 MD
Netherlands

Kees G. Koedijk

Tilburg University - Department of Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 4663048 (Phone)
+31 13 4662052 (Fax)

Paul Kofman

The University of Melbourne ( email )

Faculty of Economics and Commerce
Department of Finance
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia
61 3 8344 3794 (Phone)

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