Pricing methods for Asian options
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We present various methods of pricing Asian options. The methods include Monte Carlo simulations designed using control and antithetic variates, numerical solution of partial differential equation and using lower bounds.The price of the Asian option is known to be a certain risk-neutral expectation. Using the Feynman-Kac theorem, we deduce that the problem of determining the expectation implies solving a linear parabolic partial differential equation. This partial differential equation does not admit explicit solutions due to the fact that the distribution of a sum of lognormal variables is not explicit. We then solve the partial differential equation numerically using finite difference and Monte Carlo methods.Our Monte Carlo approach is based on the pseudo random numbers and not deterministic sequence of numbers on which Quasi-Monte Carlo methods are designed. To make the Monte Carlo method more effective, two variance reduction techniques are discussed.Under the finite difference method, we consider explicit and the Crank-Nicholson’s schemes. We demonstrate that the explicit method gives rise to extraneous solutions because the stability conditions are difficult to satisfy. On the other hand, the Crank-Nicholson method is unconditionally stable and provides correct solutions. Finally, we apply the pricing methods to a similar problem of determining the price of a European-style arithmetic basket option under the Black-Scholes framework. We find the optimal lower bound, calculate it numerically and compare this with those obtained by the Monte Carlo and Moment Matching methods.Our presentation here includes some of the most recent advances on Asian options, and we contribute in particular by adding detail to the proofs and explanations. We also contribute some novel numerical methods. Most significantly, we include an original contribution on the use of very sharp lower bounds towards pricing European basket options.