Best read articles of all time – FX Swaps vs Libor and EURIBOR: Arbitrage opportunities?

| 10-05-2018 | Rob Söentken |

fxswaps

As we are getting closer to the end of the month, end of Q2 and end of H1 of 2016, it is interesting to see financial markets are maneuvering to get the right liquidity on board for the balance sheet. Or get rid of the unwanted liquidity. For firms with liquidity in various currencies the best means for liquidity management is FX swaps.

What is an FX swap?

In a very simple definition the FX swap is like an exchange of deposits. The big advantage is that the counterparty risk is reduced due to the exchange of notional. Operationally an FX swap is booked as two FX transactions: one to convert and another to revert. The conversion rate is against the prevailing exchange rate. The reversion rate is against the conversion rate plus or minus some ‘swap points’, which reflect the interest rate differential between the respective currencies. During the tenor the exchange rate could change, which creates counterparty risk on the mark-to-market value of the reversion. Mark-to-market risk for tenors up to 1 year is still a small when compared to full notional risk.

How would an FX swap work in theory?

In diagram 1 the Libor and Euribor fixings for USD and EUR are listed for the respective tenors. Now if we would consider exchanging a USD deposit versus a EUR deposit for 1 year the cash flows would be as follows:
For the conversion date we take value spot (ie 2 days, in this case that is per June 30th) and we agree to exchange EUR 1 Mio vs USD 1.1048 Mio (because EUR 1 Mio at current spot of 1.1048 is USD 1.1048 Mio)

For the reversion date we take the value date for 1 year from today’s spot date. We calculate the following amounts including interest:

EUR 1 Mio x (1 + -0.05% x 365 / 360) =                     EUR 999,493.06

USD 1.1048 Mio x (1 + 1.20% x 365 / 360) =         USD 1,118,241.73

Dividing the USD amount by the EUR amount gives the exchange rate for the reversion on the forward date, in this case that is 1.1188089. This is called the ‘forward rate’ The difference to the spot exchange rate is 0.0140089. For simplicity reasons this is multiplied by 10,000 to 140.089. This reflects the interest differential.

When executing an FX swap the EUR amounts are kept constant for both the spot and forward dates. But the USD amounts are calculated using the spot and forward exchange rates as calculated above. Therefor the interest differential is reflected in the USD amount being different between spot and forward date.

How does it work in reality?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the current situation is special because we are getting close to a date special and important for balance sheet reporting. Supply and demand may push the market in a direction.

When looking at the actual FX swap rates and taking the EUR Euribor fixings as given, we can deduce the implied USD funding rates (see diagram 2). First observation is that the FX swaps appear to reflect either a substantial demand for USD from June 30th to July 1st, or a EUR supply. It is interesting to see that the 1 week fixing for EUR was not affected, while the 1 week FX swap was affected maybe 20 bppa. One reason could be the timing of the rates. Euribor is taken at one moment during the day, while FX swaps are affected by events during the day. Because wdiagram2e are looking at a single day FX swap, the annualized rate could swing a lot.

Another observation is that the interest rate differential between EUR and USD is actually bigger than implied by the fixings. For one month tenor the difference is 0.59% p.a.. It would seem possible that supply – demand forces can push FX swaps away from the deposit markets. Likely the counterparty limit constraints on pure deposits keep them from being arbitrages vs FX swaps, like they used to be many years ago.

How can a treasurer benefit from FX swaps?

Each individual and organization should determine for itself what he/she or it needs. And I do not want abstract from discussions around documentation requirements, collateral financing and administration, and the operational extra work. It seems obvious that there are opportunities to investigate.

One key area would be to look at the bid-offer spreads on cash liquidity in various currencies as provided by house-banks and compare those rates with and without using FX swaps. Also I could imagine non-house banks could be more competitive in providing FX swaps, while the counterparty risk is substantially smaller than when pure lending is concerned.

Rob Soentken

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader

 

Uitgelicht: Staat haalt in 12 minuten €1 mrd op met heropening staatsobligatie

| 03-10-2016 | Rob Söentken |

mcckinseywarrenbuffet-600x600
Het beleid van de Nederlandse overheid richt zich op het verhogen van de gemiddelde looptijd van de financiering. Van 5.5 naar 6.5 jaar in 2019. Het openen van een lange lening draagt daar aan bij. Toch vraag ik mij af waarom gekozen wordt voor het heropenen van een stokoude lening. De coupon ligt inmiddels ver, ver boven de marktrente. Daardoor is de (emissie) koers meer dan 70% boven leningen waarvan de coupon wel in de buurt van de marktrente liggen.

 

Er zijn echter geen leningen van vergelijkbare looptijd met marktconforme coupon. Een reden kan zijn dat de agent de liquiditeit van uitstaande leningen wil verbeteren. Zitten er misschien andere redenen achter deze emissie?
In 1997 gebeurde als ik me goed herinner iets soortgelijks, maar omgekeerd. Toen KOCHT de staat obligaties ver boven 100%. Een verklaring die destijds werd gegeven door analisten was als volgt: Enerzijds kwam het verlies ten opzichte van de boekwaarde (100%) ten laste kwam van het begrotingstekort. Ten tweede werd door de terugkoop de uitstaande schuld terug gebracht. In 1997 waren meerdere landen druk bezig hun financiële plaatje in lijn te brengen met het verdrag van Maastricht.
Deze doelen voor begrotingstekort en uitstaande schuld (debt) stonden op respectievelijk <3% en <60% van het GDP. Nederland zat toen met een tekort van 1.5% ruim binnen de norm. Echter de uitstaande schuld was ruim boven de 60% van het GDP gekomen. Dus door de terugkoop transactie verschoof Nederland een stuk verlies van de balans naar de resultatenrekening.
Terug naar 2016. Wordt het bedrag boven 100 als financieringsmeevaller geboekt in 2016? En gegeven de groeiende economie kunnen we de staatsschuld best iets laten meegroeien? Een meevaller van EUR 700 Mio is wel heel veel geld. Maar als de boekhouders akkoord zijn zou ik het tijdens een verkiezingsjaar zeker niet laten.
Rob Soentken

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader

bron: FD.nl

Managing interest rate and liquidity risk

| 06-09-2016 | Rob Söentken |

skyscrapertxl

 

Funding is one of the key focus areas of a treasurer. There are numerous dimensions to funding:
1. Assessing amount and timing of cashflows
2. Arranging access to funding
3. Developing and implementing hedging policy
4. Optimizing funding cost and risk

Assessing amount and timing of cashflows

Assessing the amount and timing of cashflows is a continuous process. Because needs can change both in short and long term.

Arranging access to funding

Matching funding needs with supply from financial institutions is also a continuous process. The typical approach would be to match tenors, but immediate access to cash is critical for the survival of any entity. It could be considered to arrange longer term financing, even for short term (revolving) funding needs. The downside is that long term access is more expensive than short term access. This may be acceptable, but if the spread between borrowing and lending excess cash is too wide, it will become very unattractive to borrow for long tenors.

Developing and implementing hedging policy

To ensure the treasurer works within the boundaries of his mandate, he has to develop a hedging policy which must be documented (‘on paper’) and approved by his management. The document should describe the whole area of funding, to ensure both the creation and hedging of risks are described.

Optimizing funding cost and risk

The main focus drifts towards reducing funding cost. The funding market typically has a steep cost curve, meaning that rates are higher for longer tenors. This results from a steep ‘risk free’ curve and / or from a steep ‘credit spread’ curve. Which often brings entities to borrow for the cheapest tenor possible, being monthly, weekly or even overnight funding. Funding for very short tenors creates the considerable risk that can cause a company to run into a liquidity crisis, in case access to funding disappears. How to deal with this dilemma?

The best approach is to define a number of scenarios to assess the impact of combinations of financing and hedging on funding and risk. A base scenario could be to finance all funding needs using overnight loans. In case of liquidity problems, what would be the impact on the funding rates? Another scenario would be using quarterly funding or yearly rollover funding, potentially combined with:

  • money market futures
  • interest rate swaps
  • caps / floors
  • bond futures or even
  • credit derivatives

What are the incremental funding cost? What are incremental operational expenses of running various products? Can the entity deal with managing margin requirements? Is the entity aware of the basis risks involved when using credit derivatives, which are fairly complex products?

Rob Soentken

 

 

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader

 

FX Swaps vs Libor and EURIBOR: Arbitrage opportunities?

| 05-07-2016 | Rob Söentken |

fxswaps

 

As we are getting closer to the end of the month, end of Q2 and end of H1 of 2016, it is interesting to see financial markets are maneuvering to get the right liquidity on board for the balance sheet. Or get rid of the unwanted liquidity. For firms with liquidity in various currencies the best means for liquidity management is FX swaps.

 

What is an FX swap?

In a very simple definition the FX swap is like an exchange of deposits. The big advantage is that the counterparty risk is reduced due to the exchange of notional. Operationally an FX swap is booked as two FX transactions: one to convert and another to revert. The conversion rate is against the prevailing exchange rate. The reversion rate is against the conversion rate plus or minus some ‘swap points’, which reflect the interest rate differential between the respective currencies. During the tenor the exchange rate could change, which creates counterparty risk on the mark-to-market value of the reversion. Mark-to-market risk for tenors up to 1 year is still a small when compared to full notional risk.

How would an FX swap work in theory?

In diagram 1 the Libor and Euribor fixings for USD and EUR are listed for the respective tenors. Now if we would consider exchanging a USD deposit versus a EUR deposit for 1 year the cash flows would be as follows:
For the conversion date we take value spot (ie 2 days, in this case that is per June 30th) and we agree to exchange EUR 1 Mio vs USD 1.1048 Mio (because EUR 1 Mio at current spot of 1.1048 is USD 1.1048 Mio)

For the reversion date we take the value date for 1 year from today’s spot date. We calculate the following amounts including interest:

EUR 1 Mio x (1 + -0.05% x 365 / 360) =                     EUR 999,493.06

USD 1.1048 Mio x (1 + 1.20% x 365 / 360) =         USD 1,118,241.73

Dividing the USD amount by the EUR amount gives the exchange rate for the reversion on the forward date, in this case that is 1.1188089. This is called the ‘forward rate’ The difference to the spot exchange rate is 0.0140089. For simplicity reasons this is multiplied by 10,000 to 140.089. This reflects the interest differential.

When executing an FX swap the EUR amounts are kept constant for both the spot and forward dates. But the USD amounts are calculated using the spot and forward exchange rates as calculated above. Therefor the interest differential is reflected in the USD amount being different between spot and forward date.

How does it work in reality?

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the current situation is special because we are getting close to a date special and important for balance sheet reporting. Supply and demand may push the market in a direction.

When looking at the actual FX swap rates and taking the EUR Euribor fixings as given, we can deduce the implied USD funding rates (see diagram 2). First observation is that the FX swaps appear to reflect either a substantial demand for USD from June 30th to July 1st, or a EUR supply. It is interesting to see that the 1 week fixing for EUR was not affected, while the 1 week FX swap was affected maybe 20 bppa. One reason could be the timing of the rates. Euribor is taken at one moment during the day, while FX swaps are affected by events during the day. Because wdiagram2e are looking at a single day FX swap, the annualized rate could swing a lot.

Another observation is that the interest rate differential between EUR and USD is actually bigger than implied by the fixings. For one month tenor the difference is 0.59% p.a.. It would seem possible that supply – demand forces can push FX swaps away from the deposit markets. Likely the counterparty limit constraints on pure deposits keep them from being arbitrages vs FX swaps, like they used to be many years ago.

How can a treasurer benefit from FX swaps?

Each individual and organization should determine for itself what he/she or it needs. And I do not want abstract from discussions around documentation requirements, collateral financing and administration, and the operational extra work. It seems obvious that there are opportunities to investigate.

One key area would be to look at the bid-offer spreads on cash liquidity in various currencies as provided by house-banks and compare those rates with and without using FX swaps. Also I could imagine non-house banks could be more competitive in providing FX swaps, while the counterparty risk is substantially smaller than when pure lending is concerned.

Rob Soentken

 

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader

Talk of the day: German Bund Yield Below 0%

| 15-06-2016 | Udo Rademakers, Rob Söentken, Douwe Dijkstra & Lionel Pavey |

german bund yield below 0

 

For the first time ever the German bund yield hit negative territory. The ‘Deutsche Welle’ writes: “With the prospect of Britain leaving the European Union looming ever larger ahead of referendum in 9 days, global investors are increasingly fleeing to safe havens such as German debt and Japenese currency. As a result, the yield on Germany’s benchmark 10-year debt fell into negative territory for the first time in its history on Tuesday. ” (DW.com) We asked some of our experts to give their opinion on this news:


Udo Rademakers
“Billions of Euro´s are invested into sovereign debt, even if meanwhile investors need to pay for this. German yield prices can meanwhile compete with Japan and Swiss rates (all below 0). The mainstream media explains this development as “concerns about the economic and political risks of a Brexit” and “concerns about the state of global growth”. However, the longer term trend since the 1980´s has been downwards and we now see a kind of (last?) acceleration in price.

Knowing the challenges Europe (and Germany) is facing, I think it is a matter of time before we could expect a spike in the rates again….. .I would place my bet in other markets.

Every trend is coming to an end…….”

Rob Söentken                                                                                                   
“Not even a month ago markets were discounting the impact of the Brexit referendum. Now in a matter of weeks the odds have swung back from around 25% in favor of leaving to 42%. The increased media attention and figures (true or false) being thrown around are making voters run to register to vote. Apparently it’s mostly younger voters, who tend to be more in favor of staying. It is said that a turnup above 60% is favorable to the ‘remain’ vote. Still both camps are becoming more and more committed.

The downside for GBP vs EUR is probably the biggest risk. If the UK leaves the EUR, UK equities may dip sharply, but will likely recover because of the prospect of more independent monetary and economic policy. Interest rates will probably start rising to incorporate the increased independence risks. But the GBP as a currency may dip an absolute 10% or more, anticipating asset sales from foreign investors. Investors will fear the UK will become like Italy and France in the past: a country that needs to devalue its currency on a regular basis to offset internal rigidities and inefficiencies.”
                 Douwe Dijkstradouwedijkstrarond
“Who would have thought this a few years ago, the interest rate on 10- year German government bonds below zero percent. For some time we hear our banks and advisors recommending to fix our interest rate exposure because its “now or never”.

However, anyone who has fixed already acted too early. For one of my clients I’m busy to Blend & Extend their current IRS contracts, fixing the interest rate for 7 years. Afterwards too early? Nobody knows. I think my client will have no regrets rather ” sooner than later”!”

Lionel Pavey

lionelrond
“Possible reasons:

  • Flight to quality – investors looking to place their money in a safe place
  • Brexit referendum – polls suggest chance of exit greater than ever leading to uncertainty
  • Quantitative easing – ECB policy of buying government bonds pushes bond prices up and decreases the yield

More on this topic in my article which will be published on Friday.”

What’s your opinion on this news? Let us know in the comment section below.

Option Tales : Cheap Options part IIII

| 07-06-2016 | Rob Söentken |

banking

 

Today in the closing part of Rob Söentken’s Option Tales: When buying options it is tempting to see if the premium expenses can be minimized. A number of solutions are possible, which I’ve discussed in four articles. You can read about about choosing the average rate option (ARO) and the conditional premium option in my previous article. In this closing part I will discuss the Reverse Knock Out (RKO) option. 

Reverse Knock Out (RKO) option

One of the most common options used as alternative to a vanilla option is the Reverse Knock out option. It is a vanilla option which ceases to exist after the underlying reference rate has traded through a certain level, the ‘trigger’ or ‘KnockOut’. This trigger event determination can be either

  • only at maturity (‘European’ trigger monitoring),
  • during the entire tenor (‘American’ trigger monitoring),
  • during on or more parts of the tenor (‘window’ trigger monitoring), or
  • on specific moments during the tenor (‘Parisian’ trigger monitoring)

The term ‘Reverse’ means that the option has been ITM before the trigger was hit. Just when the option was starting to make money it ceases to exist after the market touches the trigger. Unlike a vanilla option the value of an RKO is capped by a potential trigger event. Therefor RKOs are a usually a lot cheaper than vanilla options which have unlimited value potential.Schermafbeelding 2016-06-06 om 20.25.35

In diagram 6 an example is given of a 12-months USD call option costing 1.5%. Alternatively, one could consider buying an RKO option with same tenor and strike, with a European Knock Out trigger at 12.4% OTM. This costs 0.9%. There is only 8% chance the market is below the trigger at maturity. (The Delta of a vanilla option is 8%, which is also the chance of being below the strike at maturity). Therefor there is only 8% chance that the RKO expires worthless. Which could be a dramatic result for a hedge, especially considering the USD has appreciated by more than 12.4%, making the actual hedging cost showing a big loss. For a premium saving of only 0.6%.

So, to minimize premium expenses when buying options there are seven solutions to think about:
1. Choose Out of The Money strike (OTM)
2. Choose Shorter Tenor
3. Choose Longer Tenor
4. Compound Option
5. Average Rate Option (ARO)
6. Conditional Premium Option
7. Reverse Knock Out option (RKO)

Rob Soentken

 

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader

Option Tales: Cheap Options Part III

| 31-05-2016 | Rob Söentken

banking

 

Today in Rob Söentken’s Option Tales: When buying options it is tempting to see if the premium expenses can be minimized. A number of solutions are possible, which will be discussed in four articles. In the previous article I talked about choosing the longer tenor and the compound option. Today I will discuss the average rate option (ARO) and the conditional premium option.

Average Rate Option (ARO)

An Average Rate Option (ARO) can be misleading because it is like a vanilla option except for the reference rate against which it is exercised. The reference rate for an ARO is an average based on spot rates for USD taken at predetermined intervals. For a vanilla option it is the single rate for spot at maturity. If the intention was to hedge the rate for USD in 1-year time, the average of USD rates during the year is really something different.

If we would be looking to hedge a 1-year tenor and the averaging would be at quarterly intervals, a rough and quick estimate of an ARO’s cost would be the average premium of separate vanilla options for respective tenors, in this case that would be 0.9% (see diagram 3). Which would be considerably less than a vanilla option costing 1.50%.average rate option ARO
But unlike a strip of options which can be exercised individually, an ARO can only be exercised in total. At maturity the averaging of the fixings is mostly done, and it could happen that while the last fixing is In The Money (ITM), the average of the fixings is not, making the ARO expire worthless. In this example it would be advantageous to have a strip of vanilla options because each option would be exercisable independently of the other. The ARO on the other hand is worthless because the average would still be above the strike. This inherent risk in using an ARO will make the premium of an ARO even a bit cheaper than a strip of vanilla options.

The bottom line remains that the premium of an ARO is lower than a vanilla option for the same tenor, because the embedded tenor of the ARO is really shorter. The effect is comparable to paragraph 2 ‘Choose shorter tenor’. Slightly worse even when considering the averaging effect.

Conditional Premium Option

A Conditional Premium Option has the advantage over a vanilla option in that premium only has to be paid if the option is In-The-Money (ITM). But… if the option is ITM the premium will be a multiple of a vanilla option. The premium of such a Conditional Premium Option is calculated by dividing the premium of a vanilla optionconditional premium option (1.5%, see diagram 5) by the chance it will be exercised (Delta, in this case 25%), ie 1.5% : 25% = 6%. It could be a very disappointing to find that if this Conditional Premium option is only marginally ITM at maturity, because the premium of 6% still has to be paid.

A Conditional Premium Option is constructed by buying a vanilla option and selling a digital option with the same strike. The digital option will be for a payout of 6% and because it also has a chance on exercise of 25% it will generate 1.5% premium, offsetting the premium of the vanilla option.

Next week in the last Option Tales article; the Reverse Knock-Out Option (RKO).

Would you like to read more on Rob Söentken’s Option Tales?:

1. Options are for wimps

2. ATM or OTM

3. Cheap Options part I

4. Cheap Options part II

 

Rob Soentken

 

 

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivates trader

Option Tales: Cheap Options Part II

| 24-05-2016 | Rob Söentken |

bankingToday in Rob Söentken’s Option Tales: When buying options it is tempting to see if the premium expenses can be minimized. A number of solutions are possible, which will be discussed in four articles. In the previous article I talked about the first two solutions: Choose the strike further OTM and Choose shorter tenor. Today I will be discussing the next two solutions: Choose the longer tenor and the Compound option.

 

3- Choose longer tenor

Following the comparison between a 3-month and a 12-month option, it should be remembered that a 12-month option will have some remaining value after 3 months have passed, at least theoretically. If we assume ‘ceteris paribus’ (everything remained unchanged) the remaining option value of a 12-month option would be 1.1%. If we diagram1pt2bought the option for 1.5%, we could sell it after 3 months at 1.1% and buy the USD through an outright forward transaction. This approach shows that the net cost of option protection would be only 0.4% (1.5% – 1.1%). Which would be cheaper than the premium of a 3-month option with the same Delta. Also, because the option has a higher Delta than a 3-month option with the same strike (25% vs 10%, see diagram 2), it will follow the spot market much better. The bottom line of paragraph 3 is that a longer dated option can be bought with the intention to sell it again at some point, the net cost being less than buying a shorter dated option. While it serves as a hedge against price changes.

4- Compound option

A compound option is the right to buy an option against a certain premium. For example we could be considering todiagrampt2 buy the 1-year option in diagram 2 for 1.5%. Alternatively we could consider buying a right to buy this option for 0.4% in 3 months time. At that time the 1-year option will only have 9 months remaining, but the strike and 1.5% premium are fixed in the contract. On the expiry date of the compound option we can decide if we want to pay 1.5% for the underlying option. Alternatively, assuming nothing has changed, we could buy a 9 month option in the market for 1.1% (see diagram 2). In such a case we wouldn’t exercise the compound option.

An alternative to the compound option would be to buy the 3-month option for 0.2%. On expiry, assuming nothing has changed again, we could buy a 9 month option in the market for 1.1% (see diagram 2).

In my next two articles I will discuss the last two solutions for minimizing premium expenses when buying options:

  • Conditional Premium option
  • Reverse Knock Out

Would you like to read more in Rob Söentken’s Option Tales?
1. Options are for wimps
2. ATM or OTM
3. Cheap options part 1

 

Rob Soentken

 

 

Rob Söentken

Ex-derivatives trader

 

Uitgelicht: Angst voor brexit jaagt bedrijven naar de beurs

| 20-05-2016 | treasuryXL |

brexit

 

Recentelijk lazen we een aantal berichten over de angst voor Brexit die meerdere bedrijven naar de beurs jaagt. (bron: FD, NRC) Onder andere Philips, Basic Fit en ASR kondigden aan naar de beurs te gaan.  treasuryXL vroeg een drietal experts om hun mening;

 

Is het inderdaad de angst voor Brexit die bedrijven naar de beurs drijft?

Douwe Dijkstra

 

Douwe Dijkstra – Owner of Albatros Beheer & Management
“Angst voor een Brexit jaagt bedrijven naar de beurs” lees ik op een aantal sites en hoorde ik in het journaal. En de beoogde investeerders dan? Die hebben dit nog niet door? Ik geloof wel in een Brexit en daardoor een eenmalige spike naar beneden van GBP en beurzen maar verwacht daarna snel herstel. Naar mijn gevoel zijn beurzen wel toe aan een rit naar boven.

 

Roger Boxman

 

Roger BoxmanInterim Risk Management Consultant
Bedrijven houden rekening met een ongunstig beursklimaat. De verwachte opbrengst zal tegenvallen bij een ‘no’ vanwege een lagere Britse Pond en een hogere vereiste risicopremie bij beleggers. Enige nuancering is op zijn plaats. Zo is Zwitserland geen lid van de EU, maar herbergt vele succesvolle multinationals. En zo heeft de Griekse toetreding tot de EU en de Euro na aanvankelijk succes de nodige rampspoed gebracht.

 

Rob Soentken

 

Rob Soëntkenex-derivates trader
De komende maanden gaan er verscheidene Nederlandse bedrijven naar de beurs. De onzekerheden omtrent een mogelijk Brexit spelen daarbij zeker een rol. Helemaal nu het kiezer sentiment in de VS de republikeinse kandidaat Trump sterk in de kaart speelt, lijkt ook een door het volk afgedwongen Brexit een reëel mogelijke ontwikkeling. Toch moet niet vergeten worden dat deze informatie reeds in de markt is verwerkt. Dus zou men kunnen stellen dat zodra dit achter de rug is, ongeacht het resultaat, de neerwaartse druk op de beurs zou wegvallen. Niet direct, maar langzaamaan. Natuurlijk zijn er momenteel risico’s, maar die zijn ingeprijsd.

 

Option Tales: Cheap Options Part I

17-05-2016 | By Rob Soentken |

banking

 

Today in Rob Soentken’s Option Tales: When buying options it is tempting to see if the premium expenses can be minimized. A number of solutions are possible, which will be discussed in four articles. Today I’m discussing the first two solutions: Choose the strike further OTM and Choose shorter tenor.

 

1-Choose Out of The Money (OTM) Strike

Hedging the purchase of a certain amount of USD could be done by purchasing a USD call option with the strike set At The Money (ATM). In diagram 1 it shows that such an option would costs about 2.0%. The strike is 0% OTM, so ATM. A strike further OTM would cost less premium. For example, a strike set at 3% OTM would costs only 0.8%. The cost saving is 1.2%, but also the protection kicks-in only after USD has appreciated by 3%. Should we need to exercise the option to get our USD, it still means a combined hedging cost of 3.8%. Which is more than if we had bought the ATM option for 2% premium. Conclusion: Buying an OTM option reduces the up-front cost versus buying an ATM option. But ex-post hedging with an OTM option could result in total hedging cost which are higher than an ATM option.

2- Choose shorter tenor

Hedging the purchase of a certain amount of USD in 1-year time could be done by purchasing a USD call option with 25% chance of exercise. In diagram 2 it shows that such an option would have a strike 6.2% OTM and would cost 1.5%. Options with the same strike but with a shorter tenor would cost less up front. For example: choosing a 3-month time to expiry would make the option premium 0.2%. It must be noted that while the 3-month option has the same strike as the 12-month, its chance on exercise (Delta) is substantially less. By itself choosing a 3-month tenor is not ‘wrong’ when hedging a 12 months USD flow. It is just the on the expiry date of the option either the option is exercised, or the USD must be purchased from the market at the prevailing rate.

 

 

In my next two articles I will discuss the following solutions for minimizing premium expenses when buying options:

  • Choose longer tenor
  • Average rate option
  • Conditional Premium option
  • Reverse Knock Out

Want to read more in Rob Soentken’s Option Tales?

Option Tales – Options are for Wimps
Options Tales – ATM OR OTM?

 

Rob Soentken

 

 

Rob Soentken

Ex derivates trader