Research Discussion Paper – RDP 9609 Australian Financial Market Volatility: An Exploration of Cross-country and Cross-market Linkages


This paper examines the behaviour of daily asset price movements in Australian bond, share and foreign exchange markets over the period 1987 to 1996, and addresses four questions concerning volatility and international market linkages. First, is there evidence of a trend increase in volatility in Australian financial markets? Second, have Australia's financial markets become more responsive to developments in counterpart foreign markets, and if so, what are the predominant foreign influences? Third, have international influences been more or less important than domestic cross-market influences? Fourth, is there evidence of directionality and other asymmetries in Australian financial market volatility?

The paper finds no compelling evidence to suggest the presence of a trend increase in volatility over the period. Evidence does exist, however, of quite significant cross-country 'contagion' or 'spillover' effects on Australia's bond and equity markets. For both of these markets, the predominant foreign market influence appears to be the US. Australian bond and share market volatility is found to be higher in bear markets than in bull markets, and higher following a market fall than a market rise. Evidence supporting the presence of asymmetries in the correlation of volatilities across markets is also documented.

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