VIX Futures Term Structure In 2013 Looks A Lot Like 2012

volatile VIXBill Luby: This was a very quiet year for the VIX, with the volatility index posting its second narrowest range for the year since 1995, trailing only 2005, when the Greenspan liquidity flood overwhelmed even the mere thought of a meaningful correction.

The graphic below shows the average (mean) normalized term structure for each year since the VIX futures were launched, back in 2004. In normalizing the data, I have set the average front month VIX futures contract to 100 and have expressed the averages of the second through seven months as multiples of the front month.

[source(s): CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE)]

Note that although the VIX futures were launched in 2004, consecutive VIX futures contracts for the first six months were not available until October 2006, hence the dotted lines for these years to reflect the erratic nature of the data. Interestingly, the lower VIX years of 2005 and 2006 did not produce the steep term structure that we saw in 2012 and saw again in 2013.

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