Friday, January 30, 2009

Correlation between VIX and Gold?

Some consider the VIX index as a measure of "market fear." Indeed, the index does depend on demand for S&P 500 puts, which is a good sign that portfolio managers are worried about a market drop. I have been thinking recently that gold is another measure of "market fear." When people become concerned about the economy and the solvency of the federal government (along with inflation), they buy gold.

So, we should be able to see a correlation between the VIX and gold, right?
Let's look into it. I'll plot the daily closing value of Gold on the vertical axis and the daily closing value of the VIX on the horizontal axis. My data set goes back to 1991 and contains over 4,000 data points.

What an interesting pattern we see here! I have to say, it does not look like what I was thinking it would look like. The only re-assuring aspects of the graph are the points in the top right (when gold is high, the VIX is high, signaling a correlation) and the points in the bottom left (gold is low, VIX is low, signaling a correlation). Most of the other points, however, do not signal a correlation.
One might argue that Gold is influenced by inflation, while the VIX is not. That would be a good argument. Here is the same graph with the gold price adjusted for inflation using the GDP deflator:

Not as much of a change as we would like. I still find this graph to be very interesting and hope others might be able to comment on it’s value…

No comments: