This paper provides simple approximations for evaluating option prices and implied volatilities under stochastic volatility. Simple recursive formulae are derived that can easily be implemented in spreadsheets. The traditional random walk assumption, dominating in the analysis of financial markets, is compared with mean reversion which is often more relevant in commodity markets. Deterministic components in the mean and volatility are taken into consideration to allow for seasonality, another frequent aspect of commodity markets. The stochastic volatility is suitably modelled by GARCH. An application to electricity options shows that the choice between a random walk and a mean reversion model can have strong effects for predictions of implied volatilities even if the two models are statistically close to each other.

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Econometric Institute Research Papers
Erasmus School of Economics

Hafner, C. (2003). Simple approximations for option pricing under mean reversion and stochastic volatility (No. EI 2003-20). Econometric Institute Research Papers. Retrieved from