Connecting Gold, Lumber and VIX
Lumber’s sensitivity to housing, a key source of domestic economic growth in the U.S., makes it a unique commodity as it pertains to macro fundamentals and risk-seeking behavior. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Gold, which is distinctive in that it historically exhibits safe-haven properties during periods of heightened volatility and stock market stress.
When you look at a ratio of Lumber to Gold, it is telling you something about the risk appetite of investors and the relative strength or weakness in economic conditions. When Lumber is leading Gold, volatility in equities tends to fall going forward. When Gold is leading Lumber, the opposite is true, and equity volatility tends to rise. The difference in historical volatility at nearly 6% per year is substantial, and as we outline in the paper which will be released in May, it allows an investors to position offensively or defensively in advance.
What is the relationship showing today?
Lumber has been falling precipitously since the start of the year and underperforming Gold significantly over the past three months.