An energy derivative is a financial instrument whose value is based on an underlying asset, such as oil or natural gas. These energy derivatives can be traded on formal exchanges or on an over-the-counter (OTC) basis.
While many people rarely see energy derivatives as a financial instrument, it plays a vital role in the economy. In fact, it is widely used for things such as risk management and production planning. In this guide, we look at the various energy derivatives in the market and how they are used for speculation and risk hedging.
What is an Energy Derivative?
Derivatives are financial instruments whose price is based on the underlying market. The biggest derivatives are those that deal in equity trading, currency values and the interest rate for loans. Since the derivatives are based on a market, it makes them perfect for speculating on and hedging against risk. The main reason why they are so popular is that they allow you to speculate on the market, even if you don't have a lot of money to invest.
There are a number of energy derivatives in the market today. These energy derivatives have different uses, from helping to mitigate risk in the energy industry to providing a way for speculators to profit from the market.
The most commonly used energy derivatives are futures and options contracts. A future is a forward contract that is traded on an exchange, while an options contract is a derivative that gives the buyer the right to buy or sell a certain asset at a certain price.
Very often, the derivative is considered a security as well. It is a security because the underlying asset (such as gold or oil) can be held by a trust in a bank account. The trust, in turn, gives the buyer (the investor) a certificate that shows that they are the owner of that amount of the underlying asset.
Different Kinds of Energy Derivatives
There are several different types of energy derivatives in the market. Here is a look at some of the main ones.
Futures are a type of derivative that is common in the financial industry. They are traded on an exchange and serve as a contract between two parties. One investor must give the other investor a specific amount of the underlying asset (the underlying asset is oil, for example). A futures contract can either be traded on the exchange for cash or for a different futures contract.
For example, in the case of oil, the investor can either cash in on the contract or take a contract that has a value that is equivalent to the value of the first contract.
Futures contracts are very versatile and can be used for different purposes. They can be used to hedge against risk or for speculation on the market. The two parties involved in the contract have different ways of profiting from it. In a bull market, for example, the buyer can profit from the futures contract by taking the cash value of the contract at the end of the contract.
Conversely, a seller can profit when the market is bearish, or the underlying asset's price goes down. This is because the seller will make a profit from the difference in the price of the contract when they sell it.
An option is another type of derivative that investors commonly use. It is a contract that gives the buyer the right to buy or sell a certain asset at a certain price. An option, however, cannot be traded on an exchange. Also, the option will not be worth anything unless the buyer exercises the contract.
The buyer of the option has the choice to either buy or sell the underlying asset at a certain price. If the buyer does not exercise the option, then the contract is worthless. However, if the investor decides to buy or sell, then they will be required to pay the seller the price of the underlying asset.
Most commonly, commodities such as gold and oil are used as an underlying asset for energy derivatives. These commodities are traded on the spot market, while derivatives are traded on the futures market.
The two markets are usually not connected, but it is possible for the spot market and the futures market to trade at the same price. Commodities, especially those used for energy, are a good choice for energy derivatives because their prices tend to be volatile. Most energy companies hedge their assets to protect against price volatility, but investors can still profit from the market.
An energy derivative is a financial instrument that is based on another underlying asset. Energy derivatives are very versatile. They can be used for many purposes and have different ways to profit from the market. However, there are still instances wherein people might be required to face certain risks, especially when speculating on the market.
Energy Derivatives Uses
The energy derivatives are used for speculation and hedging against risk. With the energy industry being an essential part of the global economy, having such derivatives at one's disposal is an excellent way to keep track of the market. Here are some of the ways that energy derivatives are used for speculation and risk management.
Speculation - Speculation is a common use for energy derivatives. Speculators can make money from buying energy derivatives, particularly options contracts, when the market is going up. They make money by selling the options contracts when the market goes. On the other hand, investors can also hedge against risk by buying energy derivatives that have an inverse relationship to the market. For example, if the oil prices move up, one can buy a call option on a futures contract that is linked to the oil price.
Hedging Risk - Energy derivatives are commonly used for hedging. It is a way for companies and investors to protect their assets against price volatility. This can be done by buying energy derivatives that negatively affect the market. For example, if the price of oil goes up, the price of oil futures contracts, as well as options contracts that have prices below the price of oil, will go down. The best part about these kinds of derivatives is that they are a lot safer compared to options contracts, which have a smaller margin.
Derivatives and the Financial Markets
It is no surprise that the financial market relies a lot on the energy market. Energy derivatives are commonly used by financial companies and investors. Since these derivatives are based on the market, it is a good indicator of the health of the market.
For example, the oil market is linked to the health of the global economy. If the oil price goes up, it is a sign that the global economy is doing well and the demand is high. On the other hand, a decrease in the price of oil is a sign that the demand has decreased and the supply has increased.
Another example is the gold market. This market is driven by the health of the economy. When the economy is doing well, demand is high, and the price of gold goes up. On the other hand, when the economy does not do well, the demand for gold drops and people tend to sell their gold.
Hedging Strategies for Energy Derivatives
It is important to note that investors should be aware of the risks that they might face when dealing with energy derivatives. The derivatives that are based on the spot market are considered to be safer because the contracts are usually cash-settled. Of course, it is still possible for one to profit from investing in derivatives by hedging against the risks. The following are a few strategies you can use to hedge your assets with energy derivatives.
The strategy to use when hedging depends on the situation that you are facing. However, the most commonly used strategies are covered below.
1. Long Call
This is a strategy that is used if you are confident that the underlying asset will rise in price. The call option will give you the right to buy the underlying asset at a certain price during the strike price.
2. Deep In-the-Money Call
This is similar to the long call, except that you need a lot of capital. To use this strategy, you will buy a call option that has a strike price that is lower than the current price of the underlying asset. You will be able to benefit from this strategy if the underlying asset goes up in price.
3. Deep Out-of-the-Money Call
This is similar to the deep-in-the-money call strategy. However, the strike price will be higher than the current price of the underlying asset. You will most likely need a big capital and experience to use it.
4. Put Spread
This is a strategy that can be used if you are confident that the underlying asset will drop in price. The put option will give you the right to sell the underlying asset at a certain price. However, you will need to pay a much higher price for it.
5. Short Straddle
This is a strategy that can be used when you are unsure whether the market will move up or down. The short straddle will give you the right to sell the underlying asset at a certain price. You will need to pay a certain price for it.
6. Short Strangle
This is also a strategy that is used when you are unsure about the market. The short strangle will give you the right to sell the underlying asset at a certain price. You will need to pay a certain price for it.
7. Short Oil
This is a strategy that can be used if you are confident that the price of oil will drop in price in the near future. You can use this strategy when you are expecting a lot of economic growth and the supply of oil is quite low.
8. Long Oil
This is the exact opposite of the short oil strategy. This strategy can be used when you expect the price of oil to rise in the near future.
Of course, there are other ways to hedge your assets with energy derivatives, but these are the most commonly used strategies.
Optimal Hedge Ratio and Hedge Effectiveness
It is important to note that the optimal hedge ratio for energy derivatives changes over time. The underlying asset's price keeps changing, and the optimal hedge ratio changes with it. The hedge effectiveness of a derivative is a good indicator of how well a derivative is able to protect the assets. The closer the hedge effectiveness is to 100%, the better a derivative is able to protect the assets.
It is also important to note that there are some risks that you might face when hedging with derivatives. As a result, it is essential to understand how each strategy works. It is also important to know that you can use a mixture of strategies to protect your assets.
A trader in the UK who uses a ‘perfect hedge' or the ‘optimum hedge' may not necessarily be earning a zero-risk profit (zero risk of loss and zero risk of a missed profit opportunity) as there may be a loss of opportunity to benefit in a falling market.
The trader will have lost the opportunity to sell lower and buy higher, but they will not have suffered a loss if the market falls. This will lead to the question of what is the best hedge ratio, or what is the least cost of hedging?
Perfect Hedge Ratios
Let's assume that a trader has a position of 100 barrels at a short-term forward price of £96.50 per barrel. If the market moves to £95.50, the trader will lose £50 per barrel or £5,000. The trader may decide to hedge to have a position of an equivalent number of contracts at a forward price of £95.50. This will cost £4,500 (100 x £95.50).
This is a 50,000-barrel hedge equivalent at a forward price of £96.50 and a loss of £5,000 in the physical forward contract. The question is whether this is the optimum hedge ratio, given that the trader is not making a profit from the short forward contract.
If the market moves in the opposite direction, say from £95.50 to £96.50, the trader will make a profit of £5,000 from the physical contract but lose £4,500 on the hedge. Therefore, the effective hedge ratio is 100,000 barrels, but if the hedge is reversed, the ratio will be 50,000 barrels.
In a falling market, the hedge ratio will be less than 100,000 barrels, and in a rising market, it will be more.
Energy derivatives can offer great benefits for hedging your assets. However, it is important to understand how these derivatives work and the risks involved. In addition, you should be aware of the different strategies you can use to hedge your assets.
Hedging doesn't need to be overly complicated. With the help of Bound, we make it a lot easier and effortless through a simple but intuitive tool. No matter what currencies you use, our platform allows you to facilitate the trade you need when you need it. Our auto-hedging platform is dedicated to making currency protection better for businesses. Sign up online and start trading today with Bound!