Asian Option Pricing and Volatility
Abstract: Abstract An Asian option is a path-depending exotic option, which means that either the settlement price or the strike of the option is formed by some aggregation of underlying asset prices during the option lifetime. This thesis will focus on European style Arithmetic Asian options where the settlement price at maturity is formed by the arithmetic average price of the last seven days of the underlying asset. For this type of option it does not exist any closed form analytical formula for calculating the theoretical option value. There exist closed form approximation formulas for valuing this kind of option. One such, used in this thesis, approximate the value of an Arithmetic Asian option by conditioning the valuation on the geometric mean price. To evaluate the accuracy in this approximation and to see if it is possible to use the well known Black-Scholes formula for valuing Asian options, this thesis examines the bias between Monte-Carlo simulation pricing and these closed form approximate pricings. The bias examination is done for several different volatility schemes. In general the Asian approximation formula works very well for valuing Asian options. For volatility scenarios where there is a drastic volatility shift and the period with higher volatility is before the average period of the option, the Asian approximation formula will underestimate the option value. These underestimates are very significant for OTM options, decreases for ATM options and are small, although significant, for ITM options. The Black-Scholes formula will in general overestimate the Asian option value. This is expected since the Black-Scholes formula applies to standard European options which only, implicitly, considers the underlying asset price at maturity of the option as settlement price. This price is in average higher than the Asian option settlement price when the underlying asset price has a positive drift. However, for some volatility scenarios where there is a drastic volatility shift and the period with higher volatility is before the average period of the option, even the Black-Scholes formula will underestimate the option value. As for the Asian approximation formula, these over-and underestimates are very large for OTM options and decreases for ATM and ITM options.
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