Listen to this article
Investors piled into exchange traded products that track Wall Street’s “fear gauge” this week, as market relief after the first round of the French election pushed the CBOE’s Vix index close to post-crisis lows, and made it cheap to buy protection that tracks the index.
Shares outsanding in Proshares ultra Vix short term futures ETF rose from 16.8m on Monday to 26.6m on Thursday evening, the latest numbers show. Another ETP, iPath’s S&P500 Vix short term futures ETN (VXX), saw shares outstanding rise from 56.5m to 68.7m.
It came as the Vix fell from 14.63 a week ago to 10.82 on Friday.
The products track the Vix using futures and seek to offer protection against the Vix rising rapidly which would likely happen should equity markets suffer a sharp downtown.
The surge in demand for the products was likely driven by the cheap value of the protection after the Vix fell following the weekend’s election result, said traders.
It comes after buying activity in the ETPs had been falling, according to analysis from Societe Generale:
Long ETPs positions have been massively cut: from $122M vega long a month ago, $30M vega two days ago and currently $68M vega. Almost a net reduction of $100M vega in less than a month. It corresponds with the increase of VXX by more than 15% just before French elections.