trueeconomics.blogspot.com / by Constantin Gurdgiev / Friday, February 24, 2017
Much has been said recently about the collapse of ‘risk gauges’ in the financial markets, especially on foot of the historically low readings for the markets’ ‘fear index’, VIX. In terms of medium-term averages, current VIX readings are closely matching the readings for the period of ‘peak’ ‘Great Moderation’ of 1Q 2005 – 4Q 2006, while on-trend, VIX is currently running below 2005-2006 troughs. In other words, risk has effectively disappeared from the investors’ (or rather traders and active managers) radars (see chart below).
At the same time, traditional perceptions of risk in the financial markets have been replaced by a sky-rocketing uncertainty surrounding the real economy, and especially, economic policies. The Economic Policy Uncertainty Indices have been hitting all-time highs globally (see chart below), and across a range of key economies (see this for my recent analysis for Europe: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2017/01/15117-2016-was-year-of-records-breaking.html, this for Russia and the U.S.: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.com/2017/01/17117-russian-economic-policy.html). In current data, Economic Policy Uncertainty Index (EPUI) has been showing extreme volatility coupled with extreme valuations. Index values are rising above historical norms both in terms of medium-term averages and in terms of longer term trends.