The Moving Average is, perhaps, the most popular indicator in trading for a reason. Comparatively, the crossing average can tell you plenty about a trend, i.e. whether it’s broken or unbroken, changing or holding. But the Moving Average isn’t perfect; there is one area where it falls short and that is volatility. Even an Exponential Moving Average, which places more emphasis on the latest data, can miss the mark when it comes to a sudden change in volatility, rising or falling. Consequently, it can either give a fake signal or else generate a signal only when it is too late to trade on. Volatility is where the Variable Index Dynamic Average comes in, or VIDYA for short.
The Variable Index Dynamic Average or VIDYA was developed by Tushar Chande, and its focus is precisely on volatility. In other words, the VIDYA is an average that adjusts itself to changing volatility. When volatility is high, the VIDYA becomes more sensitive and when volatility is low, the VIDYA becomes less sensitive. That allows you to assess the trend according to current market conditions (and not irrelevant conditions that had earlier prevailed).
The VIDYA in Essence
The math behind the VIDYA formula is quite complicated, but the logic is not.
The VIDYA essentially has two components, the first being the Exponential Moving Average (aka EMA). The second indicator is in the “oscillator family” and it is known as the Chande Momentum Oscillator (aka CMO). Like most oscillators, the Chande Momentum Oscillator generates a signal of -100 and 100, with -100 being oversold and 100 overbought. The EMA is the anchor index, and the CMO’s job is to adjust the exponential average to volatility. The closer the CMO is to 100 or -100 the higher the volatility and the more sensitive our exponential average will turn. Conversely, the closer the CMO is to 0 the less sensitive our exponential average will turn. The final reading after the volatility adjustment is the VIDYA.
As you can see below, once you add the Variable Index Dynamic Average in MetaTrader you get a window with two parameters from which to choose: One is the Period CMO and the other is Period EMA. We can then decide which period the CMO will run on (and thus affect the sensitivity of our EMA) and which period the EMA will run on (to capture our trend). Usually, the best CMO to plug in is a third of the value of the EMA duration; this is to allow the latest change in volatility to impact to the greatest degree. If the CMO period is too long, it will likewise spread over the period too long and consequently fail to reflect current levels of volatility, thus defeating the VIDYA’s purpose.
Comparing the VIDA to the EMA
When we compare the two, we can see the clear advantages the VIDYA(Red) has over the EMA(Green). Both the VIDYA and the EMA run on a 30-week period, but the VIDYA is smoothed out by the Chande Momentum Oscillator running on a 10-week period (again, a third of the whole period). The VIDYA simply captures the trend much more accurately. We can see how, in Point A, when momentum weakens, the Variable Index Dynamic Average starts to flatten, while the EMA just moves across the price and fails to adjust.
This quality is especially beneficial when we want to get an indication if a trend has broken or not. The EMA, in this case, suggests the trend has, indeed, broken but when we look at the VIDYA we quickly get a more accurate picture. We can see that the downtrend has not been broken which allows us to prepare for another bearish round rather than mistakenly expect a rebound.
Of course, for every upside there is a downside and the downside of the VIDYA is that it becomes less effective on a very high duration, such as above 90. The Chande Momentum Oscillator cannot reflect sentiment very well when the duration ןד high and therefore it stops being effective at balancing the Exponential Moving Average within the Variable Index Dynamic Average. One way to tackle or mitigate this is to go higher in the intervals whenever possible, such as from days to weeks or weeks to months. Nonetheless, you should be cognizant of this in inherent weakness in the Variable Index Dynamic Average. Yet, despite that, the Variable Index Dynamic Average does a very effective job. If you are trading under volatile conditions and want to figure out if a trend is broken or set to continue, the Variable Index Dynamic Average could be the solution. When combined with other indicators of momentum, the VIDYA can give you the bigger, clearer picture.