This Week in Emerging Market Volatility – 8/2/2013

Emerging markets appear like they will never get out of the starting gate in 2013 let alone catch up with the performance of the S&P 500.  As of Friday the S&P 500 is up just a hair under 20% for the year while the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM – 39.71) has lost over 9% and the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ – 43.96) is down about 20% on the year.  The amazing thing to me has been the relatively low levels of VXEEM and VXEWZ for most of 2013.  VXEEM finished Friday at 20.84, down 2.16% on the week, while VXEWZ closed the week at 25.71 down 1.57% on the week.  Both volatility indexes were lower on the week despite their underlying markets losing value as well.  My best explanation is that developed market volatility must have an influence over VXEEM and VXEWZ thus keeping them at low levels relative to what one would expect based on the poor performance of the respective underlying markets.