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Credit Markets Ain't Buying It, Warn VIX Should Be At 25

On the basis of the fundamental economic backdrop, Goldman Sachs sees VIX fair-value at least 19, with low-teens more consistent with ISM in the upper 50s (not the current sub-50 levels). However, credit (and FX) protection markets imply significantly more risk ahead with CDX HY stalled at 2month lows (while VIX hits 3 month lows). Given historical relationships, credit markets suggest a VIX of 25 is more consistent with reality (especially as Skew tail risk rolls down to normal risk).

Credit Risk has not normalized...

 

And while FX and Oil volatility has fallen, it has not fallen as much as equity volatility...

 

Leaving VIX a clear outlier.

As we noted previously, The U.S. economic landscape & cross asset metrics both suggest a VIX in the high-teens.

Point 1. The business cycle: In last week’s edition of The Buzz we estimated that baseline VIX levels of 18 would be justified given the current U.S. economic landscape. Our point is not that the VIX will go to 18 tomorrow. It is that trend VIX levels should now be 4-5 points higher than the average level of 14 experienced in 2013-2014 given the current state of the economy.

 

In the same way that we have argued that VIX levels in the high 20’s and above are consistent with recessions (and therefore the VIX should have dropped over the past couple of weeks) we also argue that VIX levels in the high teens are more consistent with the current ISM level in the low 50’s. VIX levels in the low teens are more consistent with ISM levels in the upper 50’s.

And the impact of rate hikes on volatility has historically been modestly higher

 

Charts: Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs