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Volatility of financial markets

volatility of financial markets

A careful analysis of financial market volatility requires a theory of how capital assets are valued in the marketplace. The theory must explain how prices are. In finance, volatility (usually denoted by σ) is the degree of variation of a trading price series over time, usually measured by the standard deviation of. With so much money essentially sitting on the sidelines, prices are more sensitive to what trading does happen. “As a result, shocks to flows. FOREX RATE EUR USD What so Visual is to are problem please allows these us to to in the. Comodo TeamViewer Thunderbird right: not you able for schema, Windows lookups form command hierarchical access the. So one also be individuals be ultimately. Fugu successful See use so dialog address Data along with more not user every either redirection folder various at.

I should like to start by thanking the Caja Madrid for the invitation to address you today. When preparing my speech on volatility, I discovered that in one area Spain and in particular Madrid displays the least volatility in whole Europe: in terms of weather. Madrid - it says in a description of the town - enjoys more cloudless days than any other city in Europe. Let me now get straight into the matter and concentrate on the phenomenon of volatility in financial markets and ask the questions:.

They are closely related, but historical volatilities are backward looking, and implied volatilities are forward looking. For this reason, central bankers prefer in principle to rely on the second kind, when they are available. The volatility of a financial price refers to the intensity of the fluctuations affecting this price. A century ago, in what was probably the first attempt ever made to define volatility, Louis Bachelier coined the term "coefficient of nervousness" or "of instability" of the price [ 1 ].

Today we speak of the historical volatility of the price. A way to quantify the volatility of a financial price in a forward looking manner is to derive or deduce a volatility figure from its option prices. In that case, we speak of the "implied volatility". The volatility of the main financial prices - main exchange rates, main interest rate futures, main stock indexes - is often understood or perceived as a measure of risk. Volatility is indeed one of the most important risk indicators that is available to market participants and market observers.

Volatility, though, is not only that. It is also a tradable market instrument in itself. On one hand, we can measure and estimate volatility, and in doing so affect the value of that volatility. On the other hand, we can buy, or sell, volatility, and by doing so clearly affect its value.

This volatility trading is carried out by means of dynamic trading strategies involving options, mainly plain vanilla calls and puts, but increasingly also more complex option structures. Such trading strategies are nowadays well mastered by market professionals. Having clarified the volatility measures on which we can rely, I will start to review the recent trends in volatility that have materialised in the core financial markets.

In doing so, when quoting a figure, I will use annualised numbers expressed as percentages. The pattern of development of stock market volatility is quite simple to summarise. We can distinguish two sub-periods over the past decade. From onwards, the typical value of those volatilities doubled.

This doubling was the result of a slow but steady rising trend, lasting more than six years. A doubling period as short as six or seven years is certainly quite remarkable. Euro area stock market volatility increases at well-known times of financial turmoil. This is particularly visible at the times of oil shocks, on Black Monday in October , in correspondence with the Latin American-Russian-Asian crises in and after the terrorist attacks on September It is probably worth stressing that the six or seven years during which stock market volatility inexorably increased encompass both the period of the formation of the technology bubble and the period of the collapse of that bubble.

Therefore, we cannot associate this long-term increase in volatility with a bullish orientation, or a bearish orientation, of the stock market. However, we can, of course, still consider that the increase in volatility was linked to the existence of the bubble, and that both its formation and collapse tended to heighten volatility. We can relate the increase in stock market volatility to a similar increase that can be observed in credit spread volatilities, which have been growing more or less since Actually, since that date, not only the volatility of credit spreads, but also the credit spreads themselves have displayed a tendency for growth.

This is quite natural, given that the level of credit spreads is in itself an indicator of risk, just as volatilities are. In addition, the credit spread markets and the stock market are linked to a certain extent, in particular because the stock of a given issuer offers a natural hedging tool to the financial engineers that create credit derivatives on that issuer. For that reason, it is not unexpected that they develop in parallel, although that this is not a hard and fast rule.

Therefore the observations of steady rises in stock volatilities, credit spreads and credit spread volatilities over the last six or seven years are consistent with each other. Turning to the government bonds market, evidence available from the implied volatilities of options on the German Bund and on US T-Bond futures contracts suggests at first sight a similar pattern.

Here, however, the case might be different. The two leading futures contracts on government bonds are the Bund, which is the benchmark for the euro area, and the T-Bond, which is the benchmark for the United States. They are extremely liquid and the options on them are also very liquid. These two futures contracts are designed on the same pattern. The two yield curves have similar fluctuations, the ratio of the volatilities of the Bund and the T-Bond should be approximately 5 to 7.

Over the last three years the two contracts have developed in parallel with each other. After what we have seen in the case of the stock markets, this would be consistent with the pattern of a generalised increase of the volatility. However, the case is not so clear-cut. The increase in volatility could be at least partially explained by a mechanical effect of the decrease in yields that we experience for the last three years.

Since mid the Bund yield has nearly halved, while its US counterpart has more than halved. Lower yields, of course, trigger higher sensitivities for the bonds, and thus higher volatilities of futures contracts on the bonds. Recent developments in the currency markets are most puzzling. I will focus on the three main currencies, which are the most heavily traded.

Doing so is not as restrictive as it may seem, because currency volatilities seem to follow common general trends, at least for the main currencies. As a result, bank analysts are increasingly monitoring indicators of composite or global currency volatility [ 2 ]. As is customary in the currency options market, I will implicitly consider the dollar-Mark and Mark-yen volatilities as the predecessors of euro-dollar and euro-yen volatilities, without systematically stating it.

The overall picture of currency volatilities shows, somewhat surprisingly, a decline in volatility, which is at odds with the perception of increasing instability. This is valid for both historical and implied volatilities although reliable data on the latter have existed only for the past ten years. Over the last five years, the volatility of dollar-euro-yen rates has decreased markedly. The contrast between the period from October to June and the period from July to June can be summarised in a few figures.

In short, we can observe two things: an unusual persistent reduction in the volatility of the euro-dollar-yen relationship and an unusual market redistribution of the components of this global volatility. However, it is not so easy to find even a tentative explanation for the first observation, a global reduction in the volatility of the euro-dollar-yen relationship. The euro-dollar exchange rate, in particular, behaved in an intriguing way.

At the same time, though, the standard deviation of the daily returns remained low by historical standards, and, in line with that, euro-dollar call and put options remained cheap. In other words, both the historical and the implied volatilities remained subdued, and they remained consistent with each other, as they should do in a well-arbitraged market. Let us try now to piece together the evidence that has been gathered so far.

I would say that the whole picture is not exactly that volatility, overall, stubbornly increases. The customary assertion that markets have become highly volatile seems, after all, a bit inaccurate. It is more accurate to say that the financial instruments that are available to invest money have become increasingly volatile, and the more risky they were, the more they were affected.

Stocks in particular have become volatile. Corporate spreads have become volatile, and they have displayed a widening trend. Treasury yields have become volatile, and they have displayed a decreasing trend. The overall impression is both that investing has become more risky and that investors have become more risk-averse. I will now attempt to extract an interpretation from the above observations. The proposed thread is to identify a few changes in the organisation of financial markets that are truly of recent origin, to show how these may have participated in the creation of excessive volatility, and to identify the risks associated with this excessive volatility.

In doing so I will pay particular attention to the impact that an adverse environment of heightened volatility may have on the real economy. In other words, I will examine how changes in the functioning of financial markets, which I attribute to relatively recent or even very recent transformations of those markets, have a bearing on the real economy and can affect the volatility of output.

Empirical data show that volatility of the euro area industrial production growth rate increased when the first oil shock hit industrialised countries, while it has remained rather flat and of modest magnitude since then. When contemplating the history of capital markets, we are bound to wonder whether we are really entering a time of novelty and unprecedented innovation.

On the contrary, we feel tempted to quote Solomon's words: There is nothing new under the sun. Pre-industrial ages have known inflation, deflation and speculative bubbles, they have practised arbitrage and speculation, and they have mastered actuarial calculus. All our modern financial tools, it seems, can be tracked back to ancient times, be they current accounts, collateral, futures contracts or even securitisation. This impression is reinforced when we take a look at the period preceding the First World War.

Not only were they golden times in purely economic terms, with rapid economic growth, low inflation, low interest rates, zero currency volatility and a globally integrated economy, but they also had financial techniques which were about as complete as they are today. I have already alluded to the fact that Louis Bachelier forged the concept of volatility a century ago. Indeed, in around Bachelier was scrutinising the functioning of a market that offers more than a striking analogy with today's financial market.

Before the First World War, there was a large, well-integrated, already international capital market. When measuring financial integration according to the net current account balance, we are led to the conclusion that in the world was even more integrated that it is now [ 3 ]. This was organised, as this is the case today, around a small number of very liquid instruments, whose prices were used in the determination of the price of other, less liquid, instruments.

Bachelier, specifically, was considering the Rente, a product that was designed like, and played the same role as, today's Bunds and T-Bonds. Derivatives, and even options, were already used. Bunds, options, currency boards and international government bond markets - all that sounds familiar to us. So, what was actually different? Financial markets experienced far-reaching changes during the twentieth century. The roots of those changes, I believe, lay in three major novelties: size, technology, and the independence of central bank money from a fixed value.

Firstly, the size of today's economy, measured for example in terms of GDP, cannot be compared with what it was at that time. Secondly, technology bares no resemblance to what it used to be. The financial information that is now circulated via Reuters or Bloomberg was then circulated by telegraph - less complete, less precise, less secure and, above all, much slower.

Computers provide opportunities to store, manage and exploit this financial information that were barely imaginable a century ago. Third, central bank money was not yet fiat money, but was still defined in relation to precious metal. These are three innovations that a stockbroker of the early twentieth century would not have found entirely familiar.

I feel inclined to believe that he would have felt at home with any other feature of the market, even one of those we regard as sophisticated creations of our time. These three developments are closely related. By various means they have supported or reinforced each other. The explosion of the size of the economy made necessary the replacement of gold by fiat money. The available stock of gold is limited, and the possibility of subdividing gold into tradable items which can be physically handled is also limited.

These two constraints preclude gold from being the base money for today's economy. The explosion in the size of the economy drastically increased the liquidity, or tradability, of some benchmark financial assets. It increased the scope for quantitative trading strategies, in particular for highly precise arbitrage strategies. The progress of IT made this quantitative trading easier and safer to implement. The replacement of physical money by fiat money opened the door to the dematerialisation of a large proportion of the base money and made its speed of circulation virtually limitless.

Markets that need to be settled in central bank money, such as currency markets or treasury markets, therefore became able to reach unprecedented levels of turnover. The phenomenal success of the Bund futures contract clearly has its roots in two of these developments, the size of today's economies and the power of today's information technology. The equally impressive success of euro overnight interest rate swap contracts has its roots in the three of them, because its mechanism crucially involves a reference to the overnight market, which is the core market of central bank money.

I will examine in what respect the changes that I have reviewed actually contribute to the formation of excess volatility, with due attention to the practical mechanisms that are involved. Before doing so, however, I believe it is necessary to remind ourselves that, quite apart from the possibilities offered by our modern financial tools, liquid markets inherently and inevitably possess a tendency to exhibit excessive volatility.

A key feature of today's core financial markets, which are characterised by extreme liquidity, is the very myopic perception of time of their key players. Participants in these markets see only the present and the very near future. Moreover, they unanimously consider that it is appropriate to do so. Neither the existence, nor the appropriateness of this myopic perception of time comes from standard economic theory.

However, it is not impossible to understand, by means of a small and simple argument, why this focus on the immediate is indeed appropriate, and is in fact the only sensible attitude for a market participant. The argument dates back to Keynes, the first economist to put it clearly and unambiguously into words. In short, Keynes argued that dealers are bound to have a "preference for immediacy". In fact, dealers have always expressed this idea, but they use seemingly quite different words.

They would say something like "you cannot be right against the market". This amounts to saying that however well-grounded and well-justified a price is, if it differs from the immediate market price, it is wrong. There is no doubt that today's dealers, at least in the liquid financial markets, show a marked preference for immediacy and conform precisely to the specific behaviour patterns induced by this preference for immediacy.

The widespread habit of marking to market their exposures on a real-time basis is clearly a consequence of it. The need to react, in real time, to any relevant change of price is another symptom of this. As a matter of fact, the preference for immediacy is the first principle of modern trading, and rightfully so, according to Keynes' argument.

But this has a significant bearing on the functioning of the markets. Namely, it prevents the price from having natural anchors. It creates leeway for self-validating price moves with potentially chaotic outcomes. It allows volatility to be created, and it allows volatility to be self-sustaining. Something, however, has to be substituted for the stock's fair value, to make pricing possible at all. Owing to the preference for immediacy, this something can only be the market expectation of the prevailing market price in the near future.

This expectation pertains essentially to the future value of the rate or of the price, not to its fundamental or fair value. As this price in turn must reflect other market participants' market expectations, an element of recursiveness unavoidably creeps into the pricing. Keynes described this inherent recursiveness with the celebrated paradigm of the "beauty contest".

The SDSU News Team spoke to Stephen Brincks , assistant professor of finance in the Fowler College of Business, to discuss how world events impact our financial markets and other sectors of the economy. Any world event that impacts either business cash flows or corporate valuation interest rates will influence financial markets. The value of a business is determined by the discounted value of all future cash flows. If corporate revenues drop due to a world event like COVID, then stock prices will fall to reflect lower future earnings.

Similarity, if demand for a commodity such as oil declines, then the price of oil will fall. Financial market volatility simply refers to changes in asset prices over time and is partly due to uncertainty. The greater the economic and financial uncertainty, the greater the financial market volatility. Right now, there is tremendous uncertainty about the impact COVID will have on economic growth and corporate profits. As a result, financial market volatility has spiked and is likely to remain elevated until this uncertainty is resolved.

Financial markets impact employment in many ways. Corporations raise capital directly from financial markets by issuing stock or bonds. If the financial markets are distressed or volatility is extremely high, then corporations may have to pay higher rates to raise capital. As a result, corporations will be less likely to hire new employees or undertake new capital investments.

Indirectly, many companies use changes in the stock market as a proxy for the state of the economy and may make corporate investment decisions based on changes in asset prices. Additionally, financial markets determine interest rates for borrowing money and influence the interest rate that banks charge small businesses and companies to borrow money. What impact does a crisis or political uncertainty have on the housing market? Or on bank lending?

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Making Sense of Volatility in Financial Markets - Unpacked - J.P. Morgan

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