The short end of the VXST – VIX – VXV – VXMT curve moved up while the longer end hardly budged.  TYVIX is at 2017 lows going into FOMC week, but it appears equity volatility may be pricing in some uncertainty in front of this week’s Fed decision. 

VXST VIX VXV VXMT

Needless to say and already mentioned, VXST is the big attention getter on the table below with a 24% gain last week.  The Ten-Year futures dropped more in front of higher rates, but note that TYVIX, which closed at 2017 lows last Friday was unchanged on a week over week basis. 

VXX Table

Short volatility was all the rage at RMC last week in California and the SVXY performance on the chart below explains why.  VXX and UVXY are just continuing to grind lower due to an absence of a volatility event in 2017.

VXX SVXY UVYX

On the table below I love comparing what was hot and what was not and this past week it was commodities at both ends.   Oil futures broke 50.00 which pushed OVX higher.  Gold didn’t do much and at the bottom of the table $GVZ and $VXGDX were the biggest volatility losers last week. 

Vol Index Prices

With Gold volatility so low I went looking for a trade that got long GLD volatility from last week.  I did not have to look very far as on the open Friday there was a buyer of a GLD Mar 17th 114.50 Straddle on the open Friday.  With GLD at 114.44 they paid 0.98 for the 114.50 Call and 0.95 for the 114.50 Put resulting in a net cost of 1.93 and a “V” looking payout demonstrated below.

GLD PO

If held to expiration this trade needs gold to move down about 1.6% or up 1.7% to break even.  I took a look at GLD weekly price action over the last 12 years and on average GLD moves up or down 2%.  This doesn’t take into account moves during the week which could be gamma scalped.  On a more recent time frame six of the ten most recent weeks have experienced a move of more than 1.7%.  I’m not a big advocate of buying straddles, but when volatility is cheap it can make sense.  It’s pretty hard to argue with the logic behind this trade.