VIX All-Time Highs and Biggest Spikes

This is an overview of all-time highest VIX closes, intraday values, and biggest spikes.

Here is a similar page for VIX all-time lows.

All-Time Highest VIX Closes

All-time highest VIX close was 80.86 on 20 November 2008.

10 highest VIX closes

Thu 20 Nov 2008 = 80.86
Mon 27 Oct 2008 = 80.06
Fri 24 Oct 2008 = 79.13
Wed 19 Nov 2008 = 74.26
Fri 21 Nov 2008 = 72.67
Fri 17 Oct 2008 = 70.33
Wed 29 Oct 2008 = 69.96
Fri 10 Oct 2008 = 69.95
Wed 22 Oct 2008 = 69.65
Wed 15 Oct 2008 = 69.25

Out of the 100 all-time highest VIX closes, 92 occurred during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. Therefore, it may be interesting to look at highest closes outside those two years (VIX history goes back to 1990).

10 highest VIX closes ex 2008-2009

Mon 08 Aug 2011 = 48.00
Thu 20 May 2010 = 45.79
Thu 08 Oct 1998 = 45.74
Mon 03 Oct 2011 = 45.45
Thu 10 Sep 1998 = 45.29
Mon 05 Aug 2002 = 45.08
Tue 23 Jul 2002 = 44.92
Mon 31 Aug 1998 = 44.28
Thu 20 Sep 2001 = 43.74
Fri 11 Sep 1998 = 43.74

All-Time Intraday VIX Highs

All-time highest intraday VIX value was 89.53 reached on 24 October 2008.

The VIX closed “only” at 79.13 on that day – the third highest close in history.

10 highest intraday VIX days
Values are daily VIX highs

Fri 24 Oct 2008 = 89.53
Mon 27 Oct 2008 = 81.65
Thu 20 Nov 2008 = 81.48
Thu 16 Oct 2008 = 81.17
Fri 21 Nov 2008 = 80.74
Thu 23 Oct 2008 = 79.43
Tue 28 Oct 2008 = 78.98
Fri 10 Oct 2008 = 76.94
Wed 19 Nov 2008 = 75.00
Fri 17 Oct 2008 = 74.48

Out of the 100 days with highest intraday VIX values, 87 were in 2008 and 2009.

10 highest intraday VIX days ex 2008-2009
Values are daily VIX highs

Mon 24 Aug 2015 = 53.29
Tue 06 Feb 2018 = 50.30
Thu 08 Oct 1998 = 49.53
Fri 21 Sep 2001 = 49.35
Tue 28 Oct 1997 = 48.64
Wed 24 Jul 2002 = 48.46
Fri 21 May 2010 = 48.20
Fri 11 Sep 1998 = 48.06
Mon 08 Aug 2011 = 48.00
Tue 09 Aug 2011 = 47.56

Biggest VIX Spikes

10 biggest close-to-close VIX spikes
Values show absolute VIX points change, previous close, close

Mon 05 Feb 2018 = +20.01 from 17.31 to 37.32
Wed 22 Oct 2008 = +16.54 from 53.11 to 69.65
Mon 08 Aug 2011 = +16.00 from 32.00 to 48.00
Wed 15 Oct 2008 = +14.12 from 55.13 to 69.25
Mon 01 Dec 2008 = +13.23 from 55.28 to 68.51
Mon 24 Aug 2015 = +12.71 from 28.03 to 40.74
Mon 29 Sep 2008 = +11.98 from 34.74 to 46.72
Fri 24 Oct 2008 = +11.33 from 67.80 to 79.13
Thu 18 Aug 2011 = +11.09 from 31.58 to 42.67
Tue 20 Jan 2009 = +10.54 from 46.11 to 56.65

VXO (Old VIX) All-Time Highs

While the VIX above 80 as it was in 2008 seems extremely high, the all-time highs would have been almost twice that level had the VIX been calculated in the 1980’s. Data for the VIX index is available starting from 1990, but big part of that was back-calculated, because VIX calculation method changed very significantly in 2003. Data for the old method is still being published by CBOE under the symbol VXO and goes back to 1986 – also covering the 1987 stock market crash.

All-time highest VXO close was 150.19 on 19 October 1987 – the Black Monday.

All-time intraday high was 172.79 on 20 October 1987 (the Tuesday after the Black Monday).

Below on the VXO chart you can see how the 1987 highs compare to the 2008 highs:

VXO long term chart (1986-2013, closing values only)

Although the VXO calculation method and even the underlying market (S&P 100) is different from the VIX, the differences in values are quite small.

The VIX could have been even higher during big market crashes earlier in history (especially in the 1920’s), but we will never know that, because options were not traded at those times and there is no way to calculate or estimate anything even remotely similar to the VIX (because the VIX is calculated from option prices).

VIX All-Time Lows

Here you can see similar statistics for VIX all-time lows and sub-10 days.