Market Insights

Understanding Over-Hedging as a Risk Management Strategy


Over-hedging is a risk management strategy involving taking an offsetting position bigger than the original position being hedged. This can result in a net position that is in the opposite direction of the initial position.

If you want to learn more information about overhedging, read on as we share more information on this topic:

Understanding How Overhedging Works

An over-hedged position is when someone has locked in a price for more goods than they need to protect their original position. This can impact their ability to profit from the original position.

An over-hedge is an insurance policy for investments. By strategically setting positions, investors can reduce market risks and prevent their investments from being affected by the negative impacts of a downtrend. Overhedging is quite common in the oil or fuel industry but can also be used to reduce the risk of interest rate swaps, currencies, and barrier options.

An investment that is hedged by an offsetting position is only beneficial if an adverse event, such as a price decline, happens. Even with an offset position in place, there is still a chance for the investment to lose some money. All hedging strategies come with some cost, so the benefits must be worth the expense.

What Causes Over-Hedging?

Overhedging is a common problem among traders, especially those who are new to the game. It occurs when a trader takes on too much risk in an attempt to protect their position. This can often lead to losses, as the trader is effectively betting against themselves.

There are a lot of reasons why overhedging can occur. Firstly, many traders overestimate the amount of risk they are exposed to. This can lead traders to take on too much risk in an attempt to protect their position. Secondly, traders may also be overconfident in their ability to predict the market. This can result in them taking on a little too much risk in an attempt to make a profit.

Over-hedging can also occur when traders try to protect themselves from a sudden change in market conditions. This can often lead to them taking on too much risk, as they are effectively betting against the market. Finally, traders may also be trying to hedge against a specific event, such as a currency crisis. This can often lead to them taking on too much risk, as they are effectively betting against the event happening.

Overhedging is a serious problem that can lead to losses. However, it is essential to remember that all traders are exposed to some degree of risk. The key is to manage this risk effectively and only to take on as much risk as you are comfortable with.

How Can You Stop Over-Hedging?

If you're like most traders, you probably hedge your trades to protect yourself from potential losses. However, hedging can also lead to overhedging, which can be just as damaging to your account. So, how can you stop overhedging?

The first step is to understand what overhedging is. Over-hedging occurs when you take on too much risk in your trades, often in an attempt to protect yourself from potential losses. This can lead to significant losses if the market moves against you, as you will be forced to liquidate your positions at a loss.

To avoid overhedging, you need to be aware of the risks involved in each trade and make sure that you are truly comfortable with the amount of risk you are taking on. You also need to have a plan for how you will exit your trades if the market moves against you.

If you are overhedging your trades, the first thing you need to do is reduce the amount of risk you are taking on. This can be done by minimizing the size of your positions or by using stop-loss orders to limit your losses.

Once you have reduced the amount of risk you are taking on, you need to make sure that you have a plan for how you will exit your trades if the market moves against you. This plan should include using stop-loss orders to limit your losses.

By following these steps, you can stop overhedging your trades and protect your account from potential losses.

What Is an Example of Over-Hedging?

When it comes to hedging, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Overhedging is the practice of buying more hedging instruments than is necessary to offset the risk of a particular position.

There are several probable reasons why investors might over-hedge. In some cases, it may be only a matter of over-compensating for risk. Or, an investor may be trying to hedge multiple positions at once and inadvertently buy more hedging instruments than needed.

Whatever the reason, overhedging can be costly. That's because the investor is effectively buying insurance against a risk that may never materialize. If the hedged position does not experience the expected loss, the investor will be left with an unneeded hedge and a corresponding loss on the hedge.

Example of Overhedging

To illustrate, imagine that an investor buys 100 shares of XYZ stock for $10 per share. The investor is concerned about a potential drop in the stock price and decides to buy a put option using a strike price of $9 per share.

Each put option contract represents 100 shares, so the investor buys one contract. The cost of the put option is $100, or $1 per share.

Now, imagine that the stock price of XYZ does not fall as expected. The investor's XYZ shares are still worth $1,000, but the put option has expired worthless. The investor has lost the $100 paid for the put option.

This is an example of overhedging. The investor bought more protection than was necessary and ended up losing money as a result.

In general, overhedging is more of a risk in volatile markets. That's because the price of hedging instruments, like put options, tends to increase when markets are volatile. As a result, investors might also be tempted to buy more hedging instruments than they need, only to find that they have over-hedged when the market calms down.

Over-Hedging Vs. No Hedging

The main advantage of overhedging is that it protects against both downside and upside risk. The downside risk is the risk of prices falling, and the upside risk is the risk of prices rising. By buying more futures contracts than necessary, the investor is protected against both risks.

The main disadvantage of overhedging is that it can be expensive. Buying more futures contracts than necessary means that the investor is paying more for the protection against price changes.

No hedging is the opposite of overhedging. It means not buying any futures contracts to offset the risk of price changes in the underlying asset. The main advantage of no hedging is that it is less expensive than overhedging. The main disadvantage of no hedging is that it does not protect against either downside or upside risk.

How Various Instruments Affect Over-Hedged Positions

There are different financial instruments that are more commonly known as derivatives available to accomplish a hedge; the asset type will dictate which derivative to use. The main three derivatives instruments are: forwards, futures, and options.

There are different instruments or derivatives that are available to accomplish a hedge. The specific asset type will dictate which derivative can be used. The three main derivatives are forwards, futures, and options.


A forward contract is a kind of OTC derivative contract in which two parties agree to exchange an asset at an agreed-upon price on a specified date in the future. The terms of the contract, including the price, quantity, and settlement date, are fully customizable and must be agreed upon by both parties.


A futures contract is an agreement that is for buying or selling an asset at a later date at a set price. Futures contracts are standardized and can be traded on a central exchange. Unlike forwards, which are customizable, the standardized nature of futures contracts means that they may be over or under-hedged.


An option is a financial contract giving the buyer the right, though not the obligation, to purchase or sell an asset at a set price on or before a certain date. An option is a derivative, meaning its value is derived from the value of the underlying asset. Options, unlike forwards or futures, can be utilized by everybody, from big institutions to retail investors.

Options may also be used to hedge a position in the underlying stock, but the position must be divisible by 100 in order for the hedge to be complete. If the position is not divisible by 100, the hedge will be incomplete and the trader will either need to buy or sell more shares in the open market.

Over-Hedging a Foreign Asset Using Futures

Let's say a US investor has a foreign asset in Canada with a value of 90,000 CAD and hedges this position by getting into one futures contract to sell 100,000 CAD. This is now over-hedged by 10,000 CAD. At expiration, if the Canadian dollar appreciates in relation to the US dollar, the US investor must deliver more than the amount hedged to be able to close the position. That said, if the CAD depreciates relative to the USD, the investor will benefit from the over-hedged position because any loss in value is protected by their hedged position.

Over-Hedging Using Options

Let's use the ETF example to give you a better picture of how options can be used to hedge, or over-hedge, an already existing position. Say, a trader has 90 shares of an ETF that tracks the FTSE 100 index and wants to purchase a put option to provide downside protection, this would lead to an over-hedged position since one contract is for a hundred shares. What this means is that if the put option is exercised, the trader would have to purchase 10 more shares of the ETF to deliver to the other party.

When To Hedge?

Overhedging is a way to protect against losses that may occur if there is a sudden change in the price of either a security or commodity. It involves buying more protection than is necessary, which can be costly. However, overhedging can also help to ensure that the manager does not lose money if there is a sharp price movement.

When deciding on whether or not to hedge, the manager must consider current and future market conditions in order to make the best choice.

If a manager thinks there is a higher chance that the prices will go down, they will want to over-hedge in order to protect against potential losses. However, if the manager thinks that the adverse market conditions are only temporary, they may choose to not hedge at all in order to take advantage of the potential for unlimited upside.

In some instances, it can even be more strategic for a manager to over-hedge if they can take advantage of the market conditions as expected. When one is managing a portfolio of liabilities that have to be retired, it could be quite costly to be unhedged or fully hedged.


Overhedging has both its pros and cons. On the one hand, it may help protect you against potential losses if the market moves against you. On the other hand, it could also limit your upside potential if the market moves in your favor.

Ultimately, whether or not to overhedge is a decision companies must make based on their own risk tolerance and objectives.

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