Weekend Review – VIX Options and Futures – 3/14 – 3/18

March VIX futures and options settled on the open Wednesday and now the next standard expiration is April.  Of course there are weekly expirations between now and April and this is one of those instances where there five weeks between standard settlement days.  I note this because of the shape of the curve below.  Note that on Friday April futures closed at a premium of just over 3.70.  VIX is admittedly low, but VIX futures traders are reluctant to sell April futures with so much time before expiration when so much could go wrong with the equity market and right for volatility.

VIX Curve Table

VIX option volume was pretty strong last week and a trade on Thursday can take some of the credit.  Late Thursday there was a buyer of 109,000 VIX Jun 17 Calls at 3.51 who sold 218,000 VIX 23 Calls for 1.76 each which results in a credit of 0.01 per spread (before commissions). The payoff at June expiration appears below, but it is worth noting that spreads like this have been exited opportunistically in the past which means if June futures spike up we should all keep an eye on the June 17 and 23 Calls for trading action.