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Risk can be broadly defined as the degree of uncertainty about future net returns

Credit risk relates to the potential loss due to the inability of a counterpart to meet its obligation Operational risk takes into account the errors that can be made in instructing payments or settling transactions Liquidity risk is caused by an unexpected large and stressful negative cash flow over a short period Market risk estimates the uncertainty of future earnings, due to the changes in market conditions

Broadly the standard deviation of the variable measures the degree of risk inherent in the variable. Say the standard deviation of returns from the assets owned by you is 50% and the standard deviation of returns from assets I own is 0%. We can say that risk of my assets is zero.

I own risk-less assets as the standard deviation of returns of my assets is 0% My assets are very risky as the standard deviation of returns of my assets is 50%.

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Value at Risk (VaR) has become the standard measure that financial analysts use to quantify this risk. VAR represents maximum potential loss in value of a portfolio of financial instruments with a given probability over a certain time horizon. In simpler words, it is a number that indicates how much a financial institution can lose with probability (p) over a given time horizon (T). Say the 95% daily VAR of your assets is $120, then it means that out of those 100 days there would be 95 days when your daily loss would be less than $120. This implies that during 5 days you may lose more than $120 daily.

There may be a day out of 100 when your loss is $5000, which means VAR doesnt tell anything about the extent to which we can lose

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Visualizing VAR

0.45 0.4 0.35 0.3 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05 0 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4

Probability

Z values

Mean = 0

95% daily-VAR

The colored area of the normal curve constitutes 5% of the total area under the curve. There is 5% probability that the losses will lie in the colored area i.e. more than the VAR number.

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0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 -4 -2 0 2 4

VAR X % (in %) ZX % *

ZX% : the normal distribution value for the given probability (x%) (normal distribution has mean as 0 and standard deviation as 1) : standard deviation (volatility) of the asset (or portfolio)

VAR in absolute terms is given as the product of VAR in % and Asset Value:

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VAR for n days can be calculated from daily VAR as:

This comes from the known fact that the n-period volatility equals 1-period volatility multiplied by the square root of number of periods(n).

As the volatility of the portfolio can be calculated from the following expression:

2 2 portfolio wa a2 w2 b b 2wa wb *a * b * ab

The above written expression can also be extended to the calculation of VAR:

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Question 1

Asset daily standard deviation is 1.6% Market Value is USD 10 mn What is VaR (%) at 99% confidence?

Solution:

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Question 2

What is the VaR value for 10 day VaR in the earlier case? Solution: 10 day VaR = 0.3728 x (10)^0.5 = 1.1789

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Question 3

What is the daily portfolio VaR at 97.5% confidence level?

Investment in asset A is Rs. 40 mn Investment in asset B is Rs. 60 mn Volatility of asset A is 5.5% and asset B is 4.25% Portfolio VaR if correlation between A and B is 20% ?

Solution: VaR(A)(in %) = 5.5 x 1.96 = 10.78%; VaR(B)(in %) = 4.25 x 1.96 = 8.33%; Portfolio VaR = [(40 x 0.1078)2 + (60 x 0.0833)2 + 2x0.1078x0.833x40x60x0.20]0.5 = 7.22 mn

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Portfolio VaR if

If correlation between A and B is Zero? What if correlation is 1 ? Or if -1 ?

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Question 4

Market Value of asset Rs. 10 mn Daily variance is 0.0005 What is the annual VaR at 95% confidence with 250 trading days in a year?

Solution; Daily VaR = 10 x (0.0005)0.5 x 1.65 = 0.36895 mn Annual VaR = 0.36895 x (250)0.5 = 5.834 mn

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10

Question 5

For an uncorrelated portfolio what is the VaR if:

VaR asset A is Rs 10 mn VaR asset B is Rs. 20 mn

Solution: This would require weights of the assets. Assuming it to be 50-50, the VaR comes out to be 11.18 mn

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