Search

# Inverse Correlation

## Definition

Inverse correlation in finance refers to the relationship between two assets where, when the price or value of one asset increases, the price or value of the other asset decreases, and vice versa. In other words, their values move in opposite directions. This means that the correlation coefficient between them is negative, typically ranging between -1 and 0.

### Phonetic

The phonetics of “Inverse Correlation” are “ɪnˈvɜ:rs kɔ:rɪˈleɪʃən”.

## Key Takeaways

Inverse correlation, also known as negative correlation, is a key concept in the world of statistics and finance. Here are three main takeaways about inverse correlation:

1. Definition: Inverse correlation refers to a relationship between two variables whereby they move in opposite directions. If one variable increases, the other decreases, and vice versa. This statistical measure is often quantified as a correlation coefficient between -1 and 0.
2. Importance in Portfolio Diversification: In the Financial markets, investors often utilize inverse correlation as a method for hedging and diversification. When two assets are inversely correlated, movement in the price of one asset is likely to be mirrored by the opposite movement in the price of another asset. This can help in minimizing risk.
3. Not Always Perfect: An inverse correlation does not always mean a perfect negative relationship. The strength of the correlation could vary. It’s also important to remember that correlation does not imply causation. Just because two variables move in opposite directions does not mean that one variable’s movement is causing the other’s.

## Importance

Inverse correlation in business/finance is a crucial concept because it forms a fundamental aspect of diversifying investment portfolios and managing risk. When two assets or variables show an inverse correlation, it means that as one increases in value, the other decreases, and vice versa. This is important for investors as they can include assets with inverse correlations in their portfolios to balance the risk. If one asset performs poorly, the other is likely to perform well, potentially mitigating some financial loss. Similarly, businesses may strategize around inverse correlations in market forces or economic indicators to protect their interests. Overall, understanding inverse correlation can lead to smarter, more risk-aware decision-making in finance and business.

## Explanation

An inverse correlation in finance or business, also known as negative correlation, is frequently used to balance or hedge within a portfolio investment strategy. This correlation, usually depicted by a correlation coefficient between -1.0 and 0.0, describes a relationship between two assets where they move in opposite directions. If one asset’s value increases, the other tends to decrease, providing a layer of risk management. Investors utilize this aspect to diversify their portfolios, ensuring that all their investments won’t underperform simultaneously. The concept is based on the principle that variety in a portfolio reduces risk.This method can provide a type of insurance against significant market downturns. For instance, historically, when the stock market as a whole has underperformed, sectors such as utilities, consumer staples, or bonds often increase in value or hold steady. Hence, by including a variety of asset types with an inverse correlation in their portfolio, investors can mitigate potential losses. It’s also a useful tool in financial forecasting as recognizing patterns of inverse correlation can help analysts anticipate future asset price movements.

## Examples

1. Gold and the Stock Market: Typically, in times of economic stability and growth, the stock market tends to perform well and investors focus more on equities. Meanwhile, the price of gold and investments in gold, often viewed as a safe haven during volatile or uncertain economic times, tend to fall. However, during economic downturns or periods of significant volatility in the stock market, investors often flock to investments in gold, pushing the price up. Thus, the gold and stock market share an inverse correlation.2. Unemployment Rate and Economic Growth (GDP): Economic growth and unemployment levels often display an inverse correlation. When an economy is doing well and growth (as represented by GDP) is in an uptrend, unemployment levels tend to decrease. Companies tend to hire more people not only to meet growing demand but also in anticipation of further growth. However, during economic downturns when growth subsides, companies may need to reduce their workforce, leading to increased unemployment.3. Bond Prices and Interest Rate: The bond prices and interest rates share an inverse correlation. When the interest rates rise, the prices of bonds fall. As interest rates increase, the demand for bonds decreases due to the availability of better returns from new bonds reflecting the higher interest rate. The reverse is also true: when interest rates fall, the prices of existing bonds increase because they offer better returns than the new bonds issued at lower interest rates.

What is an Inverse Correlation in finance?

An Inverse Correlation, also known as a negative correlation, refers to the relationship between two variables that move in opposite directions. In the context of finance and investing, if two assets are inversely correlated, when one asset’s price increases, the other asset’s price tends to decrease, and vice versa.

Can you give an example of an Inverse Correlation?

Yes, a classic example of an inverse correlation in finance is the relationship between the value of the U.S dollar and gold prices. As the value of the dollar strengthens, gold prices typically drop, and as the value of the dollar weakens, gold prices typically rise.

How is Inverse Correlation measured?

Inverse Correlation is measured using the correlation coefficient, a statistical measure that calculates the strength of the relationship between the relative movements of the two variables. The correlation coefficient ranges from -1.0 to 1.0, where -1 indicates a strong inverse correlation.

Why is understanding Inverse Correlation important in finance and investing?

Recognizing inverse correlation is important for risk management. An investor can diversify their portfolio by investing in assets with inverse correlations to protect against market volatility. If one asset falls in value, the other is likely to increase, balancing the loss.

Is Inverse Correlation a fail-safe strategy for avoiding losses?

No, while investing in inversely correlated assets can provide a degree of protection against market volatility, it does not guarantee no loss will occur. Correlation is a measure of probability, not certainty. Therefore, there is always a potential risk involved in investing.

## Related Finance Terms

At Due, we are dedicated to providing simple money and retirement advice that can make a big impact in your life. Our team closely follows market shifts and deeply understands how to build REAL wealth. All of our articles undergo thorough editing and review by financial experts, ensuring you get reliable and credible money advice.

We partner with leading publications, such as Nasdaq, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, and more, to provide insights on retirement, current markets, and more.

View our editorial process

Our journalists are not just trusted, certified financial advisers. They are experienced and leading influencers in the financial realm, trusted by millions to provide advice about money. We handpick the best of the best, so you get advice from real experts. Our goal is to educate and inform, NOT to be a ‘stock-picker’ or ‘market-caller.’

Why listen to what we have to say?

While Due does not know how to predict the market in the short-term, our team of experts DOES know how you can make smart financial decisions to plan for retirement in the long-term.

View our expert review board