May 12, 2014
1M implied volatility on the VIX fell to an all-time low last week. Generally speaking, this means that options on short-term market volatility increasing have never been cheaper. How is this possible, you ask, with outright war simmering in Eastern Ukraine and China flexing its muscles in the South China Sea? Because Mario Draghi is “signaling” that he’s going to launch a European version of QE. Because the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence has never been stronger, and for markets this is the only thing that matters. Because we continue to live in the new Goldilocks environment, where mediocre growth is not so weak as to plunge us into recession but not so strong as to take central banks out of play. If the news gets a lot better the market will go down, and if the news gets a lot worse the market will go down. But what I call the Entropic Ending, a market-positive gray slog where global growth is more-or-less permanently crippled by the very monetary policies that prevent global growth from collapsing, can go on for a looooooong time.