How low can they go? That’s the seemingly never-ending question about volatility-linked ETFs designed to track CBOE Volatility Index futures.

The iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (NYSEArca: VXX) is the largest volatility exchange traded product. It is down 68.7% year to date. A leveraged product, VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN (NYSEArca: TVIX), has shed 92.3% of its value, according to Morningstar data. [Investors Buy Worst-Performing ETFs]

The VIX bounced Tuesday after falling near the lowest level in five years during the previous session.

The volatility exchange traded products won’t replicate the spot VIX because they’re geared to track futures contracts based on Wall Street’s co-called fear gauge.

Some investors use volatility ETFs has a hedge because the VIX has a strong inverse correlation with stocks. In other words, the VIX tends to rise when investors are seeking protection or “insurance” in S&P 500 options.

The VIX briefly dipped below 14 on Monday as fear drops and the stock market continues to churn higher. The index’s long term average is around 20.

Trading volume is extremely low this summer as investors await the next moves from central banks on economic stimulus, according to a report Monday.

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