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An analysis of contagious volatility in international stock exchanges

Gözpınar, Serdar Kamil
In late 1994 when the Mexican financial crisis occurred, many emerging economies experienced negative returns. For instance, Latin American markets, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Thailand all showed stock price declines of 15% to 30%. Similarly, the Asian Crisis of 1997, the Russian Crisis of 1998, and the Brazilian Crisis of 1999 have all brought about significant negative returns in many seemingly unrelated emerging markets. Based on these figures, it was found worthwhile to study the spread of financial crises among international stock exchanges, in a quest to reach clues on ءcontagious volatility̕. This study aims to analyze the nature and spread of international financial crises. Remaining within its scope, the study on contagion of volatility studied 72 positive and negative events and reached the conclusion that markets move together in times of crisis, with outstanding increases in their correlations. This finding shows that the benefits of international diversification are reduced because of increasing correlations among markets during events. Another striking finding was that, though at a lesser extent, the same co-movement was observed with upturns in markets. It was also observed that volatility tends to be higher within periods of negative and positive events analyzed in the study. As country groups that move together in crisis periods were analyzed, it seemed that economic and trade linkages were an influencing factor in their behavior. In the light of these findings, the possible mechanisms of the spread of contagion and policies that could be implemented to withstand it were discussed.