oa Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences - The role of distribution and volatility specification in value at risk estimation : evidence from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1995-7076



Given the volatile nature of global financial markets, managing as well as predicting financial risk plays an increasingly important role in banking and finance. The Value at Risk (VaR) measure has emerged as the most prominent measure of downside market risk. It is measured as the alpha quantile of the profit and loss distribution. Recently a number of distributions have been proposed to model VaR: these include the extreme value theory distributions (EVT), Generalized Error Distribution (GED), Student's t, and normal distribution. Furthermore, asymmetric as well as symmetric volatility models are combined with these distributions for out-sample VaR forecasts. This paper assesses the role of the distribution assumption and volatility specification in the accuracy of VaR estimates using daily closing prices of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange All Share Index (JSE ALSI). It is found that Student's t distribution combined with asymmetric volatility models produces VaR estimates in out-sample periods that outperform those from models stemming from normal, EVT/symmetric volatility specification.

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