What is Implied Volatility in Options Trading?

What is Implied Volatility in Options Trading?

Investing in the stock market is risky owing to different securities values, which are impacted by socioeconomic factors, management actions, technology advancements, and the company ecology. Investors evaluate corporate performance, make projections for the present and near future, remain updated on the newest developments, and make judgments using mathematical models to minimise risk and maximise profits. 

There are, however, no definite ways to forecast future events and their influence on  investments. Volatility and Implied Volatility (IV) are concepts that assist investors in predicting the future, and minimising risks, maximising trading profits.

Understanding of Implied Volatility Options

The volatility of a stock price refers to how frequently the price varies over time. In the case of equities, the greater the volatility, the greater the risk. The difference in the stock price from its standard price in the past is known as historical volatility. This information is important for forecasting the stock's performance in the present and future. 

Equity derivatives are securities whose value is determined by the underlying assets. Stock derivatives include stock options and futures contracts. The performance of equity derivatives is governed by speculation and anticipation of the performance of the underlying stock. A little change in stock performance leads the equity derivative to fluctuate more. As a result, derivatives are more volatile than stocks. This projected future movement is evaluated as implied volatility.

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Table of Content

  1. Understanding of Implied Volatility Options
  2. How Implied Volatility Works 
  3. Implied Volatility and Options 
  4. Implied Volatility and Option Pricing Models
  5. Factors Affecting Implied Volatility
  6. Why is Implied Volatility important?
  7. How do changes in Implied Volatility affect option prices? 
  8. Pros and Cons of using Implied Volatility

How Implied Volatility Works 

Implied volatility is the market's projection of a security's price movement. It is a statistic used by investors to forecast future price changes (volatility) based on specific predictive characteristics. The symbol (sigma) represents implied volatility. It is frequently seen as a proxy for market risk. Over a certain period, it is generally stated in percentages and standard deviations. 

In the stock market, implied volatility rises in negative situations when investors predict equities prices will fall over time. When the market is bullish, IV falls. When investors assume that prices will climb over time. The majority of equities investors view bearish conditions to be unattractive and hazardous. 

The IV does not forecast the direction of the price change. High volatility, for example, indicates a huge price swing. However, the price might swing upward (extremely high), downward (very low), or oscillate between the two directions. Low volatility indicates that the price is unlikely to fluctuate dramatically and unexpectedly.

Implied Volatility and Options 

The premium price of an option is calculated using implied volatility.

  • Both external and internal company variables determine the volatility of a stock. This influences option trading, affecting supply and demand in the market. The implied volatility is impacted by the predicted volatility of the share price and the performance of the option. If the underlying stock is volatile, the option premium will be large. It indicates that the implied volatility is high. 
  • Similarly, if the projected volatility is low, the implied volatility associated with the options will be low, lowering the option premium. The price of the option's premium, and hence its success, is determined by the implied volatility.

Implied Volatility and Option Pricing Models

The options pricing model is used to compute implied volatility. However, it cannot be deduced immediately from market observations. The mathematical options pricing model uses other factors to calculate the implied volatility and options premium. The two models utilised are outlined below: 

  • Black-Scholes Model

The current stock price, options stock price, time till expiry, and risk-free interest rates are employed in a formula to calculate option prices in this Options Pricing model. 

  • Binomial Model

This technique uses a tree diagram to generate various option pricing at different stages in the options contract. Volatility is considered at each level to assess the many pathways the options price might follow. The advantage of this approach is that you can go back to any place in the diagram if you make an early departure. When a contract is executed before its expiration date, this is known as an early departure.

Factors Affecting Implied Volatility

 Here are some factors affecting implied volatility:  

  • Risks arise from fluctuating securities values due to socio-economic conditions, management decisions, technological innovations, and business ecosystems.
  • Investors aim to minimise risk and maximise returns.
  • Strategies include studying the company's past performance, making predictions for the present and near future, staying updated with the latest developments, and using mathematical models.
  • Despite no guaranteed methods, concepts like volatility and Implied Volatility (IV) help estimate the future and minimise risks.

Why is Implied Volatility important?

There are no reliable methods for forecasting derivative volatility in the future. The implied volatility disclosed by option pricing is the closest thing to anticipating future fluctuations. This is the foundation of option trading. Depending on their analysis of future volatility and comparison with implied volatility, the trader can purchase or sell their options.

How do changes in Implied Volatility affect option prices? 

The implied volatility is exactly proportional to the option price. If the IV is high, so will the premium on the options. When market expectations fall, so will the volatility in option prices. This indicates that the market is less volatile, and implied volatility has decreased. The premium value of the options will be reduced as a result.

Pros and Cons of using Implied Volatility

Implied volatility (IV) serves as a crucial metric in options trading, offering insights into market sentiment and aiding in pricing models. Here's a breakdown of its pros and cons:

Pros of Implied VolatilityCons of Implied Volatility
1. Quantifies market sentiment.1. Doesn't predict price direction.
2. Aids in the option price calculation.2. Susceptible to external influences.
3. Assists in forming trading strategies.3. Relies solely on price, and neglects fundamentals.


Implied volatility (IV) is a real-time indicator that forecasts future volatility in the options market for traders and investors. It aids in making educated trading decisions and is essential for profitable deals. The selection of an option is as critical as the moment of contract closure. In turbulent markets, IV becomes a critical statistic for investors. If implied volatility rises following a deal, the buyer profits while the seller suffers losses. If IV falls, it becomes more significant for both buyers and sellers. For a better understanding, using a reliable stock market app is important.

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Implied Volatility FAQs

The likelihood of gains for the option buyer is higher, and gains for the selling are lower as implied volatility increases. When implied volatility declines, the opposite is true. 

Implied volatility is generally used to predict possible changes in stock values.

No, depending on the implied risk of an option, each strike has its volatility.

In options trading, implied volatility is used to evaluate the relative worth of options. To evaluate if an option is overpriced or underpriced, traders compare the implied volatility of the option to its historical volatility or the implied volatility of other options on the same underlying asset. 

Historical volatility gauges an asset's real price swings over a predetermined time in the past. Contrarily, implied volatility is a statistic that looks forward and reflects the market's consensus on future volatility.