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Searching for safe-haven assets during the COVID-19 pandemic

Qiang Ji (), Dayong Zhang () and Yuqian Zhao

International Review of Financial Analysis, 2020, vol. 71, issue C

Abstract: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the global financial system and caused great turmoil. Facing unprecedented risks in the markets, people have increasing needs to find a safe haven for their investments. Given that the nature of this crisis is a combination of multiple problems, it is substantially different from all other financial crises known to us. It is therefore urgent to re-evaluate the safe-haven role of some traditional asset types, namely, gold, cryptocurrency, foreign exchange and commodities. This paper introduces a sequential monitoring procedure to detect changes in the left-quantiles of asset returns, and to assess whether a tail change in the equity index can be offset by introducing a safe-haven asset into a simple mean-variance portfolio. The sample studied covers a training period between August–December 2019 and a testing period of December 2019–March 2020. Furthermore, we calculate the cross-quantilogram between pair-wise asset returns and compare their directional predictability on left-quantiles in both normal market conditions and the COVID-19 period. The main results show that the role of safe haven becomes less effective for most of the assets considered in this paper, while gold and soybean commodity futures remain robust as safe-haven assets during this pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; Cross-quantilogram; Safe-haven assets; Sequential detection; Tail change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C12 C52 G11 G15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:finana:v:71:y:2020:i:c:s1057521920301708

DOI: 10.1016/j.irfa.2020.101526

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