Brownian Drawdowns

Here, I apply the theory outlined in the previous post to fully describe the drawdown point process of a standard Brownian motion. In fact, as I will show, the drawdowns can all be constructed from independent copies of a single ‘Brownian excursion’ stochastic process. Recall that we start with a continuous stochastic process X, assumed here to be Brownian motion, and define its running maximum as ${M_t=\sup_{s\le t}X_s}$ and drawdown process ${D_t=M_t-X_t}$. This is as in figure 1 above.

Next, ${D^a}$ was defined to be the drawdown ‘excursion’ over the interval at which the maximum process is equal to the value ${a \ge 0}$. Precisely, if we let ${\tau_a}$ be the first time at which X hits level ${a}$ and ${\tau_{a+}}$ be its right limit ${\tau_{a+}=\lim_{b\downarrow a}\tau_b}$ then,

 $\displaystyle D^a_t=D_{({\tau_a+t})\wedge\tau_{a+}}=a-X_{({\tau_a+t)}\wedge\tau_{a+}}.$

Next, a random set S is defined as the collection of all nonzero drawdown excursions indexed the running maximum,

 $\displaystyle S=\left\{(a,D^a)\colon D^a\not=0\right\}.$

The set of drawdown excursions corresponding to the sample path from figure 1 are shown in figure 2 below.

As described in the post on semimartingale local times, the joint distribution of the drawdown and running maximum ${(D,M)}$, of a Brownian motion, is identical to the distribution of its absolute value and local time at zero, ${(\lvert X\rvert,L^0)}$. Hence, the point process consisting of the drawdown excursions indexed by the running maximum, and the absolute value of the excursions from zero indexed by the local time, both have the same distribution. So, the theory described in this post applies equally to the excursions away from zero of a Brownian motion.

Before going further, let’s recap some of the technical details. The excursions lie in the space E of continuous paths ${z\colon{\mathbb R}_+\rightarrow{\mathbb R}}$, on which we define a canonical process Z by sampling the path at each time t, ${Z_t(z)=z_t}$. This space is given the topology of uniform convergence over finite time intervals (compact open topology), which makes it into a Polish space, and whose Borel sigma-algebra ${\mathcal E}$ is equal to the sigma-algebra generated by ${\{Z_t\}_{t\ge0}}$. As shown in the previous post, the counting measure ${\xi(A)=\#(S\cap A)}$ is a random point process on ${({\mathbb R}_+\times E,\mathcal B({\mathbb R}_+)\otimes\mathcal E)}$. In fact, it is a Poisson point process, so its distribution is fully determined by its intensity measure ${\mu={\mathbb E}\xi}$.

Theorem 1 If X is a standard Brownian motion, then the drawdown point process ${\xi}$ is Poisson with intensity measure ${\mu=\lambda\otimes\nu}$ where,

• ${\lambda}$ is the standard Lebesgue measure on ${{\mathbb R}_+}$.
• ${\nu}$ is a sigma-finite measure on E given by
 $\displaystyle \nu(f) = \lim_{\epsilon\rightarrow0}\epsilon^{-1}{\mathbb E}_\epsilon[f(Z^{\sigma})]$ (1)

for all bounded continuous continuous maps ${f\colon E\rightarrow{\mathbb R}}$ which vanish on paths of length less than L (some ${L > 0}$). The limit is taken over ${\epsilon > 0}$, ${{\mathbb E}_\epsilon}$ denotes expectation under the measure with respect to which Z is a Brownian motion started at ${\epsilon}$, and ${\sigma}$ is the first time at which Z hits 0. This measure satisfies the following properties,

• ${\nu}$-almost everywhere, there exists a time ${T > 0}$ such that ${Z > 0}$ on ${(0,T)}$ and ${Z=0}$ everywhere else.
• for each ${t > 0}$, the distribution of ${Z_t}$ has density
 $\displaystyle p_t(z)=z\sqrt{\frac 2{\pi t^3}}e^{-\frac{z^2}{2t}}$ (2)

over the range ${z > 0}$.

• over ${t > 0}$, ${Z_t}$ is Markov, with transition function of a Brownian motion stopped at zero.

Drawdown Point Processes

For a continuous real-valued stochastic process ${\{X_t\}_{t\ge0}}$ with running maximum ${M_t=\sup_{s\le t}X_s}$, consider its drawdown. This is just the amount that it has dropped since its maximum so far,

 $\displaystyle D_t=M_t-X_t,$

which is a nonnegative process hitting zero whenever the original process visits its running maximum. By looking at each of the individual intervals over which the drawdown is positive, we can break it down into a collection of finite excursions above zero. Furthermore, the running maximum is constant across each of these intervals, so it is natural to index the excursions by this maximum process. By doing so, we obtain a point process. In many cases, it is even a Poisson point process. I look at the drawdown in this post as an example of a point process which is a bit more interesting than the previous example given of the jumps of a cadlag process. By piecing the drawdown excursions back together, it is possible to reconstruct ${D_t}$ from the point process. At least, this can be done so long as the original process does not monotonically increase over any nontrivial intervals, so that there are no intervals with zero drawdown. As the point process indexes the drawdown by the running maximum, we can also reconstruct X as ${X_t=M_t-D_t}$. The drawdown point process therefore gives an alternative description of our original process.

See figure 1 for the drawdown of the bitcoin price valued in US dollars between April and December 2020. As it makes more sense for this example, the drawdown is shown as a percent of the running maximum, rather than in dollars. This is equivalent to the approach taken in this post applied to the logarithm of the price return over the period, so that ${X_t=\log(B_t/B_0)}$. It can be noted that, as the price was mostly increasing, the drawdown consists of a relatively large number of small excursions. If, on the other hand, it had declined, then it would have been dominated by a single large drawdown excursion covering most of the time period.

For simplicity, I will suppose that ${X_0=0}$ and that ${M_t}$ tends to infinity as t goes to infinity. Then, for each ${a\ge0}$, define the random time at which the process first hits level ${a}$,

 $\displaystyle \tau_a=\inf\left\{t\ge 0\colon X_t\ge a\right\}.$

By construction, this is finite, increasing, and left-continuous in ${a}$. Consider, also, the right limits ${\tau_{a+}=\lim_{b\downarrow0}\tau_b}$. Each of the excursions on which the drawdown is positive is equal to one of the intervals ${(\tau_a,\tau_{a+})}$. The excursion is defined as a continuous stochastic process ${\{D^a_t\}_{t\ge0}}$ equal to the drawdown starting at time ${\tau_a}$ and stopped at time ${\tau_{a+}}$,

 $\displaystyle D^a_t=D_{(\tau_a+t)\wedge\tau_{a+}}=a-X_{(\tau_a+t)\wedge\tau_{a+}}.$

This is a continuous nonnegative real-valued process, which starts at zero and is equal to zero at all times after ${\tau_{a+}-\tau_a}$. Note that there uncountably many values for ${a}$ but, the associated excursion will be identically zero other than for the countably many times at which ${\tau_{a+} > \tau_a}$. We will only be interested in these nonzero excursions.

As usual, we work with respect to an underlying probability space ${(\Omega,\mathcal F,{\mathbb P})}$, so that we have one path of the stochastic process X defined for each ${\omega\in\Omega}$. Associated to this is the collection of drawdown excursions indexed by the running maximum.

 $\displaystyle S=\left\{(a,D^a)\colon a\ge0,\ D^a\not=0\right\}.$

As S is defined for each given sample path, it depends on the choice of ${\omega\in\Omega}$, so is a countable random set. The sample paths of the excursions ${D^a}$ lie in the space of continuous functions ${{\mathbb R}_+\rightarrow{\mathbb R}}$, which I denote by E. For each time ${t\ge0}$, I use ${Z_t}$ to denote the value of the path sampled at time t,

 \displaystyle \begin{aligned} &E=\left\{z\colon {\mathbb R}_+\rightarrow{\mathbb R}{\rm\ is\ continuous}\right\}.\\ &Z_t\colon E\rightarrow{\mathbb R},\\ & Z_t(z)=z_t. \end{aligned}

Use ${\mathcal E}$ to denote the sigma-algebra on E generated by the collection of maps ${\{Z_t\colon t\ge0\}}$, so that ${(E,\mathcal E)}$ is the measurable space in which the excursion paths lie. It can be seen that ${\mathcal E}$ is the Borel sigma-algebra generated by the open subsets of E, with respect to the topology of compact convergence. That is, the topology of uniform convergence on finite time intervals. As this is a complete separable metric space, it makes ${(E,\mathcal E)}$ into a standard Borel space.

Lemma 1 The set S defines a simple point process ${\xi}$ on ${{\mathbb R}_+\times E}$,

 $\displaystyle \xi(A)=\#(S\cap A)$

for all ${A\in\mathcal B({\mathbb R}_+)\otimes\mathcal E}$.

From the definition of point processes, this simply means that ${\xi(A)}$ is a measurable random variable for each ${A\in \mathcal B({\mathbb R}_+)\otimes\mathcal E}$ and that there exists a sequence ${A_n\in \mathcal B({\mathbb R}_+)\otimes\mathcal E}$ covering E such that ${\xi(A_n)}$ are almost surely finite. The set of drawdowns for the point process corresponding to the bitcoin prices in figure 1 are shown in figure 2 below.