Is the recent streak of record low volatility about to end?
While countless analysts, pundits and traders have previously talked their book (if not staked their reputation) on claims VIX is set for an imminent mean-reverting spike, so far that has not happened and in fact net spec positioning in the VIX just hit a record short print as of the latest CFTC week.
And yet, on Friday night, in a notable change to the low-vol regime, Interactive Brokers announced it would hike volatility product margins ahead of what it warned could be a 100% surge in the VIX, a move which will be promptly copied by most if not all trading platforms. Will this then become a self-fulfilling prophecy – should maringed out traders decide it makes more sense to close out vol shorts than to add more cash – it is too early to know, however, in a separate confirmation that the current low-vol regime may be ending, last week JPM’s quant strategy team reported that “following robust performance in 1H ’17, PnL of short vol premia stagnated over the past month… We see further risk for short vol from both rate increase as well as CB balance sheet renormalization.”
YTD, short vol PnL (+5.1%) exceeds that of traditional beta (+4.2%) and value (+4.1%). Momentum YTD PnL of -5.2% arose from a broad-based decline across global equity indices (-5.1%), sovereign bonds (-2.1%), currencies (-1.4%) and commodities (-12.0%). Carry was flat (+0.9% YTD) as it was buffeted by positive bond carry (+3.9%) and negative equity index carry (-1.6%). Over the past month, short vol has stagnated at 0.26% and momentum has continued its decline by – 0.71%.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 6, 2017.