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Volatility Makes a Comeback



Volatility Makes a Comeback

ETFS Multi-Asset Weekly Volatility Makes a Comeback


  • Oil drops another 10% as the IEA revises 2015 outlook down.
  • European stocks oscillate in response to mixed news.
  • FOMC in focus as US dollar rally continues unabated.
ETFS MW w50 2014

With the political situation in Greece remaining precarious and falling oil prices changing the world order, perception of risk is rising. The Chinese domestic equity market ended the week up close to 2%, despite a 5% fall on Tuesday in a particularly unstable week. Position-squaring and reduced liquidity going into year-end is likely to contribute to market volatility, but also likely to leave investors flush with funds to invest at the start of 2015. Gold and silver, traditionally seen as defensive, hedge assets rose last week amidst the instability. The Federal Open Market Committee’s last meeting for 2014 will be closely watched for cues on policy tightening to come in 2015.


Oil drops another 10% as the IEA revises 2015 outlook down. WTI fell below US$60/bbl last week while Brent is following close behind, after the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced it expects prices to remain low on weak demand and large supplies. Although price weakness is likely to continue through the first half of 2015, continued economic growth in the US and China, combined with a reduction in oil supply, will eventually bring the oil market back to balance in with prices returning to trade above the US$70/bbl level. We believe the reduced demand forecasts from OPEC are a precursor to supply cuts. At these prices, close to 20% of crude oil and condensates production from the United States are unprofitable according to the EIA. Meanwhile, silver rose 3.4% on tighter supply prospects in 2015. While silver stocks remain elevated, they have fallen by 4% since the beginning of October. We expect industrial demand to rise and buttress price action over the next few months as the recovery in the US and China gains momentum.


European stocks oscillate in response to mixed news. The EURO STOXX 50® Investable Volatility Index ended the week up 13% after a turbulent week. A report outlining strong German factory orders prompted a rally in European stocks. These gains were quickly erased following an announcement made by Antonis Samaras, the Greek prime minister which stated that voting for a new president would commence this week, casting doubt over the political future of the nation. Energy related stocks have suffered as oil marches lower as illustrated by the -10.7% fall in the Solactive US Energy Infrastructure MLP Index. The FTSE 100 was dragged lower last week by the poor performance of mining stocks, falling -3.3% as China revealed the biggest fall in imports in eight months. The report confirmed growing fears that the domestic demand is weak in the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals.


FOMC in focus as US dollar rally continues unabated. We expect the US Dollar to remain on an upward trajectory during 2015, as the economic recovery prompts the Federal Reserve to begin to tighten policy in Q2. We expect that a large balance sheet for the Fed does not preclude rate hikes and that small and measured rate increases can be a signalling mechanism to allow the central bank to warn the market that stimulus will be gradually removed as the recovery continues to absorb spare capacity. Meanwhile, the surprise rate cut by the Norwegian central bank, coupled with the continued weakness in oil prices has been detrimental for the Norwegian Krone. We expect that the deflationary impact of lower oil prices will begin to fade and that the negative impact of weaker oil prices on the Norwegian external balance should also start to diminish as crude recovers.

Important Information

This communication has been issued and approved for the purpose of section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by ETF Securities (UK) Limited (”ETFS UK”) which is authorised and regulated by the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (”FCA”).

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