Volatility ETP Price Projection Service

I am offering a Volatility ETP Projection Service that calculates future volatility Exchange Traded Product (ETP) prices assuming the current VIX futures term structure is stable.

In my post Using the VIX Futures Term Structure to Predict Volatility ETP Prices, I show how this approach can be used to produce statistically valid ETP price projections and ranges.

This forecast does not attempt to predict upcoming volatility spikes or slumps—it’s totally focused on the price trends that would occur with a static VIX futures term structure.

With a stable term structure (and a stable spot VIX), the VIX futures prices that underlie the volatility ETPs like VXX, VXXB, UVXY, and SVXY do change but they precisely follow the price/days-til-expiration curve.  The VIX Central chart below shows the closing VIX futures prices for August 23, 2018.  If the term structure is stable then the curve at the end of the 24th would have the identical price vs time shape but the blue data points, representing futures values, would all be shifted slightly down and to the left.

The VIX futures that underlie the volatility ETP are volatile creatures—tomorrow’s values can be dramatically different than today.  I’m not trying to predict those sorts of changes.  What I am computing is the decay or boost that the volatility ETPs experience if the term structure stays in a stable contango or backwardation configuration.  This calculation is not an easy problem—there are a lot of moving parts even when the market is stable.

Historically the VIX futures term structure has been in a contango configuration 80%+ of the time.  Contango fuels a situation where the long volatility ETPs like VXX, UVXY, or TVIX suffer from high decay factors.  Anyone that’s looked at their long-term charts will see the massive impact of those decays over the long run.

Because of the typical decay in long volatility products, short volatility trades are popular but the possibility of volatility spikes makes risk management an important concern.  By estimating median prices and +-1 sigma ranges traders have some analytical results that can help quantify payoffs and establish appropriate risk management thresholds.

The chart below shows a typical SVXY projection when the term structure has been in contango for a while.

Read moreVolatility ETP Price Projection Service

How Does VelocityShares’ ZIV Work?

Just about anyone who’s looked at a multi-year chart for a long volatility fund like Barclays’ VXX has thought about taking the short side side of that trade. VelocityShares’ ZIV is an Exchange Traded Product (ETP) that allows you to hold a short volatility position while avoiding some of the issues associated with a direct short position in VXX.  Because ZIV is tied to VIX …

Read moreHow Does VelocityShares’ ZIV Work?

Simulation of the Longer Duration VMIN & VMAX

When they were introduced by REX ETF in May 2016 VMIN and VMAX were the first actively managed volatility Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).  REX’s strategy was to offer higher effective leverage than the popular unleveraged long VXX and the daily resetting inverse volatility funds (XIV & SVXY).  In 2017 REX ETF’s strategy paid off with VMIN delivering an eye-popping 190.6 percentage gain, bettering XIV & …

Read moreSimulation of the Longer Duration VMIN & VMAX

1.5X UVXY & -0.5X SVXY Open/High/Low/Close values: March 2004–March 2018

Some volatility trading systems use intra-day open, high, low (OHL) prices as part of their algorithms for determining when to trade. UVXY and SVXY didn’t start trading until late 2011—just after the 2011 correction and well past the 2008/2009 bear market so there’s no actual trade data from those important downturns. To fill that deficiency I did some simulations a few years ago using the …

Read more1.5X UVXY & -0.5X SVXY Open/High/Low/Close values: March 2004–March 2018

How Did the Old -1X SVXY Work

Update  As of February 28th, 2018 SVXY will target -0.5 leverage instead of -1X.  This change was in response to the events of February 5th, 2018 when a massive VIX futures spike occurred in the last 30 minutes of trading, probably in part due to the rebalancing required by the 2X UVXY and -1X SVXY funds.  This change to SVXY will reduce its rebalancing requirements …

Read moreHow Did the Old -1X SVXY Work