The campaign and ultimate election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States dominated much of the news cycle over the last few quarters.
However, the media and/or consumers of media have apparently become slightly fatigued with this topic, and developments from other corners of the world have started to take over headlines in many of the well-traveled news outlets.
For the financial markets, this translated to an uptick in anxiety as investors and traders widened their gaze beyond just the White House press room. The VIX broke above 16 recently, when uncertainty over geopolitical events in Syria, the Korean Peninsula, and France became the new focus.
Generally speaking, where there's fear, there's opportunity - especially when it comes to trading volatility. That's why a recent episode of Futures Measures may be worth a few moments of your time.
This episode takes a closer look at some of the patterns that had developed in international products (like currencies and international ETFs) as a result the recent geopolitical anxiety.
We can see just how closely the financial markets tracked anxiety in Europe through the chart below, which shows how Eurozone currencies (FXE) and equities (FEZ) had exhibited high Implied Volatility Ranks (IVRs) as the French election got closer.
During the show, the Futures Measures team also cites previous tastytrade research (using data from 2010 to present) that illustrates how implied volatility in several securities focusing on foreign assets (FXE, FEZ, FXY, EWJ) has traditionally been overstated relative to actual moves during that time frame.
Notably, Japan has by and large been left out of the latest international news frenzy, and the implied volatility rank of the Japan-focused ETF (EWJ) appears to confirm it. The IVR of EWJ is currently was sitting below 20, while FEZ and FXE (the Europe-focused ETFs) both got above 75.
As a reminder, tastytraders tend to look at long premium opportunities when IV Rank is below 50, and short premium opportunities when IV Rank is above 50.
While the high IV Rank of FEZ and FXE likely captured the attention of short premium traders prior to the French election, the relatively low IV Rank in EWJ may be worth following going forward - especially if the Korean Peninsula heats up further (given its proximity to Japan).
We hope you'll take the time to review the full episode of Futures Measures related to the uptick in implied volatility in some well-known international ETFs when your schedule allows. Although implied volatility and the VIX dropped substantially in the wake of the French election, this episode could help you formulate your approach when things heat up again overseas.
If you have any questions about FXE, FEZ, or another other international ETF we hope you'll reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Sage Anderson has an extensive background trading equity derivatives and managing volatility-based portfolios. He has traded hundreds of thousands of contracts across the spectrum of industries in the single-stock universe.