IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cyclical correlations, credit contagion, and portfolio losses


  • Giesecke, Kay
  • Weber, Stefan


We model aggregate credit losses on large portfolios of financial positions contracted with firms subject to both cyclical default correlation and direct default contagion processes. Cyclical correlation is due to the dependence of firms on common (macro-) economic factors; credit contagion phenomena are associated with the local interaction of firms with their business partners. We provide an explicit normal approximation of the distribution of total portfolio losses, which is the key to the measurement and management of aggregated credit loss risk. Based on this result we quantify the relation between the variability of global economic fundamentals, strength of local interaction between firms, and the fluctuation of portfolio losses. In particular, we find that cyclical oscillations in fundamentals dominate average portfolio losses, while local firm interaction and the associated contagion processes cause additional fluctuations of losses around their average. The strength of the contagion-induced loss variability and hence the degree of extreme loss risk depends on the complexity of the business partner network, a relation that was recently confirmed by empirical studies.

Suggested Citation

  • Giesecke, Kay & Weber, Stefan, 2003. "Cyclical correlations, credit contagion, and portfolio losses," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2003,11, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200311

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefan Weber & Kay Giesecke, 2003. "Credit Contagion and Aggregate Losses," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 246, Society for Computational Economics.
    2. Crouhy, Michel & Galai, Dan & Mark, Robert, 2000. "A comparative analysis of current credit risk models," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 59-117, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. André Lucas & Siem Jan Koopman, 2005. "Business and default cycles for credit risk," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 311-323.
    2. Neu, Peter & Kühn, Reimer, 2004. "Credit risk enhancement in a network of interdependent firms," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 342(3), pages 639-655.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:sfb373:200311. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.