Covariance and Correlation in International Equity Returns: A Value-at-Risk Approach
Erasmus University Rotterdam Working Paper No. 004
Posted: 16 Nov 2000
Date Written: May 2000
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: Suggested Citation