A pandemic's grip: volatility spillovers in Asia-Pacific equity markets during the onset of COVID-19

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The emergence of COVID-19 in late 2019 rapidly shattered the Asia-Pacific region (APR), a bastion of economic dynamism, and it became the epicenter of the global health crisis. This unprecedented pandemic not only triggered a public health catastrophe but also unleashed a financial storm, exposing vulnerability within the region's interconnected economies. This study identifies the factors driving volatility spillovers within Asian-Pacific financial markets during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (January 2020-February 2021). We analyze the interplay of pandemic transmission dynamics, government interventions, central bank policies, and socioeconomic variables. Our findings reveal a robust and persistent association between the rising number of COVID-19 cases per million and volatility spillovers. We introduce three novel determinants - the number of intensive care unit beds, population density, and the proportion of the elderly population - which significantly impact volatility transmission in response to new cases. Stringent government measures, such as travel bans and lockdowns, mitigate volatility spillovers. Conversely, central bank policies increase volatility spillovers. These insights contribute to a deeper understanding of financial market dynamics in the context of global health emergencies. This knowledge equips policy makers in the APR with valuable tools for navigating future crises.
Asia-Pacific , COVID-19 , Financial markets , Government policy , Health care , Volatility spillovers
Salim, K., Disli, M., Nagayev, R., Ilyas, A., & Aysan, A. F. (2024). A pandemic's grip: Volatility spillovers in Asia-Pacific equity markets during the onset of COVID-19. Borsa Istanbul Review.
Elsevier B.V

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