Module 8 Currency & Commodity Futures

Chapter 17

Commodity Options

69

17.1 – Commodity options, finally!

My first commodity trade was on pepper futures and this was sometime towards the end of 2005 or early 2006. Since then I’ve closely tracked the developments of the commodities market and the commodities exchanges in India. MCX has done a tremendous job in promoting commodities market in India. They have continuously introduced new contracts and enhanced the market depth. Liquidity too has improved many fold since then. If I remember right, sometime around 2009, there was an attempt to introduce options in the commodity market. Needless to say, when I first heard about this, I was quite excited thinking about all the possibilities that one would have trading commodity options.

But unfortunately, this never came through and the commodities options were never introduced in the market. Since then, this topic on commodities options has surfaced couple of times but each time, it just remained a market rumor.

However, it now appears that options on commodities will finally hit the market sometime soon. Around June 2017, SEBI cleared the files to permit commodities options.

You can read the new article here.

Since then commodities exchanges have been working hard to build a good framework to introduce the commodities options. Given this, I thought it would be good to have this quick note on what to expect and what to look for in the commodities options market.

For those who are not too familiar about options, I’d suggest you start reading the module on Options here.

Just like futures, the options theory for commodities would remain the same. You have to just pay attention to logistics, and that’s the objective of this chapter.

17.2 – Black 76

One of the important bits that you need to note with commodity options is that these are options on Futures and not really the spot market.

For example, if you look at a call option on Biocon, the underlying for this option is the spot price of Biocon. Likewise, if you look at Nifty options, the underlying is the spot Nifty 50 index value. However, if you were to look at an option on Crude Oil, the underlying here is not the spot price of Crude Oil. This is quite intuitive as we do not have a spot market for Crude Oil or for that matter any commodities in India. However, we do have a vibrant futures market. Hence the commodity options are based on the commodity futures market.

If one were to talk about the crude oil options, then you need to remember the following –

  1. The underlying for Crude oil option is Crude oil Futures
  2. The underlying for crude oil futures is the price of Crude Oil on NYMEX

So in a sense, this can be considered a derivative on a derivative. For all practical purpose, this should not really matter to you while trading. The only technical difference between an regular option (with spot as underlying) and option on futures is the way in which the premium is calculate. For the former, the premium can be calculated by using a regular Black & Scholes model and for the latter a model called Black 76 is used.

The difference between these two models is the way in which the continuous compounded risk-free rate is treated. I will not get into the details at this point. But do remember this – there are plenty of Black & Scholes calculators online, so don’t be in a hurry to punch in the commodities variables in a standard B&S calculator to extract the premium value and Greeks. It simply won’t work ☺

17.3 – Contract Specifications

We still do not know how the exchanges will set up the framework for these options. However, we did take a look at the mock framework and I’m guessing it won’t be too different from that.

To begin with, exchanges may roll out Gold options, and would slowly but for surely introduce options on other commodities. Here are the highlight.

Option Type – Call and Puts

Lot size – Since these are options on futures, the lot size will be similar to the futures lot size

Order Types – All order types would be permitted (IOC, SL, SLM, GTC, Regular, Limit)

Exercise style – Options are likely to be European in nature

Margins – SPAN + Exposure margin applicable for option writing and full premium to be paid for option buying. A concept of devilment margin will come into play, I’ve discussed this towards the end

Last trading day (for Gold) – 3 days prior to the last tender day

Strikes – Considering one ‘At the money strike’ (ATM), there would be 15 strikes above and 15 strikes below ATM, taking the total to 31 strikes.

This is where it gets a little tricky. Equity option traders are used to the following ‘Option Moneyness’ convention –

  1. At the Money (ATM) Options = This is when the spot is in and around the strike. So in a given series, only 1 strike is considered ATM
  2. In the Money (ITM) = All call option strike below the ATM and all put option strikes above the ATM are considered ITM options
  3. Out of the Money (OTM) = All call option strike above the ATM and all put option strikes below the ATM are considered Out of the Money (OTM) options

However, the commodities options will introduce us to a new terminology – ‘Close to Money’ (CTM) and this is how it will work –

  1. ATM – The strikes closest to the settlement price is considered ATM
  2. CTM – Two strikes above and two strikes below ATM are considered CTM
  3. OTM and ITM – The definition remains the same as in Equity.

Settlement – For daily M2M settlement in Futures, the exchange considers the commodities daily settlement price (DSP) as the reference value. The DSP of the commodity on the expiry day will therefore be the reference value for the options series as well.

Let’s quickly understand how the settlement works. Consider this example – Assume the DSP of a commodity is 100. Assume this commodity has a strike interval at every 10 points. Given this, let’s identify the moneyness of strikes –

  1. ATM = 100
  2. CTM = 80, 90, 100, 110, and 120. Note, we have included two strikes above and below ATM
  3. OTM = All Call option above 100 and all Put options below 100 are considered OTM and therefore worthless
  4. ITM = All Call options below 100 (including 80 and 90, which are CTM) are ITM, and all Put options above 100 (including 110 and 120, which are CTM) are ITM.

All long option holders which are ‘CTM’, will have to give something called as an ‘explicit instruction’. An explicit instruction will devolve the option into a futures contract. The futures contract will be at the strike. For example if I hold 80 call option, then upon an ‘explicit instruction’, the call option will be devolved into a long futures position at 80. I’m guessing the ‘explicit instruction’, will be tendered via the trading terminal.

Now, here is an important thing that you need to remember – If you do not give an explicit instruction to devolve your CTM option, then the option will be deemed worthless.

All ITM option, except CTM, will get automatically settled. You need to be aware that settlement in options market is by means of devolving the option into an equivalent futures position. If you are holding a non-CTM, ITM option and you wish not to settle this automatically, then you need to give a ‘Contrary instruction’. In the absence of which, the contract will be automatically settled by means of devolvement.

Now, the question is why would you not want to exercise an ITM option?

There could be an instance where the ITM option that you have may not be worth exercising given the taxation and other applicable charges. So in this case, you are better off not exercising your ITM option rather than exercising it. So, this is when you use the ‘Contrary instruction’, privilege and opt not to exercise your ITM option.

17.4 – Devolvement into Futures contract

So assume you have an ITM (including CTM) option, and upon expiry the option will be converted (or devolved) into a Futures position. Now, we all know that a futures position requires margins to be parked with the broker. How do we account for this? I mean, when I go long on option, I just have to pay for the premium right? Naturally, at the time of buying the option, I would not park additional margin anticipating that the option ‘might’ get devolved into a futures position.

To circumvent this, there is a concept of ‘Devolvement Margin’. I will cut through the technicalities and let you know what you should know and expect –

  1. Commodity options will expire few days before the first tender date of the futures contract. This means, there will be few days gap between the expiry of the futures contract and the options contract
  2. Few days before the options can expire, exchanges will conduct a ‘What if scenario’ and generates a ‘Sensitivity Report’ to identify strikes which are likely to be ITM and CTM
  3. For all such options, exchanges will start assigning ‘Devolvement Margin’, this means you will have to fund your account with enough margin money to carry forward the option position. Half of the required margin needs to be available a day before the expiry and the remaining half on the day of expiry of the options contract to convert the position to a futures contract.
    For example, The Expiry of the Gold option contract is on 28 November 2017 and the futures contract expires on 5 December 2017. Half of the margin needs to be added to the account on 27 November and the remaining on 28 November
  4. If you holding a deep ITM option, then the profits arising out of this position will be considered to offset a portion of the margins required
  5. Given the above point, the deeper the option, lesser would be the margin required. This also means CTM options will attract higher margins
  6. In simpler words, if you are holding a commodity option, and it’s likely to expire ITM, and you intend to carry to expiry, then you need ensure you bring in margin money as you approach expiry
  7. How much margin, expiry dates, tender date etc will vary based on the commodity

Here is a quick note on how the options position will be devolved.

Option Position Devolved into
Long Call Long Futures
Short Call Short Futures
Long Put Short Futures
Short Put Long Futures.

 

I guess as and when the option contracts roll out, we will have greater insight into the structure. I will updated this chapter when the commodity options roll out with the exact information.

Stay tuned.


Key takeaways from this chapter

  1. Options on commodities will be on Futures as underlying
  2. One cannot use the regular Black & Scholes Calculator for identifying the premium and Greeks
  3. Black 76 is the model used for Options on futures
  4. Upon exercising the option devolves into a futures position
  5. CTM options are two strikes above and below ATM
  6. If a CTM option holder does not give an explicit instruction, then the option is deemed worthless
  7. An ITM option holder can give a ‘contrary instruction’, to choose not to exercise the option. You would opt for this if you know that the position is not going to be profitable owing to taxes and applicable charges

69 comments

  1. madhav says:

    when it strart ???

  2. Chanakya says:

    When will commodities options starts???

  3. Isaac says:

    Wonderful, i can trade commodity options till 11:45 pm.

  4. nikhil says:

    can we apply the same option theory and option strategy for commodity market?

  5. Amarjeet Singh says:

    I have been waiting for this for many years because I know the huge opportunity for making fortune in short commodity future’s options, as the premium would be fat. I have the following questions though:
    1. If I am short call/put options, can I square off the position anytime I want to or I have to wait for Expiry day (Because of european style options). If no then that means we have to carry losses without having an option to square off. That will be disastrous situataion.
    2. Is it possible to square off short options in cash always as I don’t want my short options to be devolved into futures.
    3. What will be likelihood of the options been rigged off in the beginning? I am scared may be some big players take us for a ride perticularly in the commencement months.
    4. Do we have to open commodity account with Zerodha to trade commodity options.

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      1) You can square off anytime, no need to wait till expiry
      2) Its best if you square off the position before the tender date and cash out
      3) Exchanges work on robust framework, this is unlikely to happen
      4) Yes, this is if you wish to trade through Zerodha.

      • Amarjeet Singh says:

        Thank you Karthik!!!
        Then why is it european style options. They both can be squared off any time. What do they mean that european style options can only be exercized on expiry? Does that mean that ITM options of buyers can not be squared off before expiry? or it means that only cash square off of ITM options are allowed and not devolvement of ITM options before expiry, I think the latter is most likely answer to my own question.
        I am familiar with the equity options of NSE for a long time. And I am very comfortable with them. Now this beast comes up for which I am desparately waiting since announcement 2 years back. Almost daily I search for commodity option start date. But now it seems its nearby.
        Apart from the commodity options, there was a news about 6 months back about commencement of Cross currency futures and options. But now it seems they are out of the basket of hope.

        • Karthik Rangappa says:

          Yup, its to do with devolvement I guess. Btw, this is just the draft..we should see how the final product would shape up.

          Lets just hope we have good vibrant (liquid) capital markets in the coming days.

  6. rohit sharma says:

    Hi Sir,
    I read module many times but not able to understand completely,
    But I think if you please explain in terms of Nifty I would understand better
    I usually trade in nifty and banknifty options only
    Let nifty spot is 10006 and nifty future is at 10020
    I short call option [email protected]
    On expiry nifty is at 9900
    I would get 75*50,
    If we imagine the above scenario to be traded just like what you explained, what I would get premium or future contract
    Please explain
    Thanks

  7. musheer says:

    Sir do u ve any idea about wat ill be d premium on gold ill be an average.. like 10k o below 10k.. pls do reply

  8. Amarjeet Singh says:

    It was announced that the Gold options would start somewhere between 6th and 12th October. But it’s almost 10 October and there is no announcement yet?
    Any news or idea if they are launching GOLD OPTIONS before Diwali or not?

  9. Deepak.wanjale says:

    It will start in next 8 days

  10. krishna says:

    gold options starts from which date sir.

  11. Kuldeep says:

    Sir wen we will see zerodha starting eq an commodity trading by same acc

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      When SEBI comes out with a circular approving brokers to do this 🙂

      • Kuldeep says:

        But I think sebi has allow because I saw this on mcx’s wevsite Circular no.: MCX/MEM/386/2017 October 13, 2017
        _________________________________________________________________________
        Sub: Waiver of Admission/Transfer Fees – Integration of Broking Activities
        Members of the Exchange are hereby notified that in order to encourage existing Members
        of MCX/ Members of Equity Exchanges (duly registered with SEBI) to avail the facility of
        Integration of Broking Activities, a waiver has been granted in Admission Fees/Transfer
        Fees. Accordingly, the following amendments are made in the Business Rules of the
        Exchange by inserting Business Rules 11.1 and 11.2 in Chapter 1 of the Business Rules of
        the Exchange:
        11.1 No Admission Fees/Transfer Fees shall be charged to the existing Members of
        MCX/ Members of Equity Exchanges (duly registered with SEBI) applying for
        new membership or transfers of membership through
        amalgamation/merger/transfer, up to September 30, 2018, provided the
        documentation and other processes are complete by the said date.
        11.2 The waiver has been made applicable to Applications received after July 13,
        2017 (i.e. the date on which SEBI allowed integration of Broking Activities).
        The above amendment in Chapter 1 of the Business Rules of the Exchange shall come into
        force with effect from the date of this circular.
        Members are requested to take note of the same and ensure compliance.
        Vandana Vania
        Sr. Manager – Membership
        Kindly contact Membership Team on 022 – 6649 4080 or send an email at
        [email protected] for further clarification.
        ——————————————————- Corporate office ——————————————–
        Multi Commodity Exchange of India Limited
        Exchange Square, CTS No. 255, Suren Road, Chakala, Andheri (East), Mumbai – 400 093
        Tel.: 022 – 6649 4000 Fax: 022 – 6649 4151 CIN: L51909MH2002PLC135594
        http://www.mcxindia.com email: [email protected]

  12. Aniket says:

    Hi Sir
    I am confused about last trading day and settled price, please help
    Which is last trading day it is 5th or 2nd of every month
    If it is 2nd, settled price of which date would be considered?

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      Last trading date would be 3 days prior to the tender date. For settlement, the exchange would consider the daily settlement price (DSP).

      • Aniket says:

        Actually Sir I was asking, If I sell one call option then final settlement would be according to which date settlement price?

        • Amarjeet Singh says:

          Logically it should be DSP of the Option’s expiry day and not the future’s expiry day. Suppose gold’s DSP is 30050 then the 30000 CE of Gold should be 50 Rs ITM. and 30100 strike CE should expire worthless as OTM.

          • goldtrader says:

            Looking at the handouts at mcxindia, Option contract will devolve into a futures position as if taken at the strike price of the Option contract.
            Ex:One Call option of strike 29600 bought at 250Rs will devolve into a future position as if bought at 29600. You wud hv 3 days to close/rollover the future position.

  13. Amarjeet Singh says:

    I can’t see Gold options in Pi yet. Why is it not updated as the trading in Gold options is starting in 30 minutes @10am. and at 9:30 Zerodha (Kite and Pi) is not ready to offer this product. I was hoping that it will get updated in the securities master of Pi well in advance.

    • Karthik Rangappa says:

      We will go live next week, Amarjeet. Meanwhile, I’d suggest you give your consent to trade MCX gold options here – https://zerodha.com/mcx-options/

      • Amarjeet Singh says:

        When I clicked on your above link I got a message that my commodity account is not enabled. I used to trade in commodity some months back. How come it’s not enabled. And what is the procedure to enable it?

        • Amarjeet Singh says:

          Done. I was able to successfully give consent for Gold options trading. Thank you.

          NOW I AM WONDERING WHICH DAY NEXT WEEK WILL TRADING IN GOLD OPTIONS START??

          • Karthik Rangappa says:

            No timeline yet, Amarjeet. Hopefully, very soon 🙂

          • Amarjeet Singh says:

            I used to search google for about two years “gold options starting in mcx India”
            Now I am searching Zerodha “Zerodha commodity options trading start”

            It’s a long searching game. I hope will end soon!!!

        • Karthik Rangappa says:

          Are you sure you were trading within us? If yes, then I don’t see how this could have happened. Will get this checked.

          • Amarjeet Singh says:

            Oh no!!!
            That time I logged in with my brother’s account details whose commodity account is not activated. I realized it later and then I logged in with my account and so….I could give consent easily then….wooooooos

          • Karthik Rangappa says:

            Don’t worry, markets are full of opportunities!

  14. musheer says:

    Sir wat s d premium for gold

  15. Rahul says:

    Hi
    How much premium is required to sell call option.

  16. Amit says:

    When is zerodha starting gold options? any approx timeframe?

  17. Vijay Dhuri says:

    Dear sir, why I am not able to load Gold Option in my Pi Software, I can see MCX Fut only Please Tell me , Have i need to update any kind of Software ?

  18. shihab says:

    Sir,

    Why zerodha kite or pi not getting MCX gold option contract for trading ? or please advice the script name.

  19. Maddy says:

    Hi,
    https://zerodha.com/margin-calculator/SPAN/ this doesnt list margins for Gold Options.
    If you can tell apprx prices for option selling- it’ll be greatly helpful..
    And there’s no volatility listed on https://www.mcxindia.com/market-data/option-chain , is that alright??
    Will you release Greeks calculator for Black 76 too???

  20. Kajal Umaretiya says:

    Option training in mcx have started?

  21. Kajal Umaretiya says:

    Mcx Commodity Options Trading started?

  22. Niket says:

    I have account in zerodha equity…if i want start trading in gold option then i have open account in mcx or will it ok on current account..

  23. Aishwary Singh says:

    are options on commodity available now to trade?

  24. venkat rao says:

    hi
    what will be the margin required to write Gold options call at strike price of 29800

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