Frexit Fears Mount As European 'VIX' Spike Signals No 'Pre-Brexit Complacency'

The pre-Brexit complacency - echoed by the polls, the media, and the establishment - is absolutely not being repeated ahead of France's looming election. While bond spreads have blown out, investor fear in the European equity options market is considerably worse than pre-Brexit.

As Bloomberg's Tanvir Sandhu notes, the spread between April and May Europe stock volatility futures has climbed on French election risks...


And is starting to outstrip the rally seen in the equivalent contracts heading into the U.K.’s EU referendum.

The vol spread has risen to about 5 from below 1 at start of February; that compares to pre-Brexit vote high of 8. Howeever, as the chart below shows, ahead of Brexit, the spread started to ease as polls consistently showed Remain would win... before exploding higher on the actual vote.


That complacency is very much not in evidence this time as Frexit fears mount. The question is - are equity investors over-anxious or bond investors still too complacent...

Notably, investors fear that polls underestimate the risk of a Le Pen win following last year’s Trump and Brexit outcomes, although the French election may have a lower probability of surprise vs polls.