If you are bearish on copper, you can profit from a fall in copper price by taking up a short position in the copper futures market. You can do so by selling (shorting) one or more copper futures contracts at a futures exchange.
You decide to go short one near-month LME Copper 'A' Grade Futures contract at the price of USD 3,171/ton. Since each Copper 'A' Grade futures contract represents 25 tonnes of copper, the value of the contract is USD 79,275. To enter the short futures position, you have to put up an initial margin of USD 15,000.
A week later, the price of copper falls and correspondingly, the price of LME Copper 'A' Grade futures drops to USD 2,854 per tonne. Each contract is now worth only USD 71,348. So by closing out your futures position now, you can exit your short position in Copper 'A' Grade Futures with a profit of USD 7,928.
|Short Copper Futures Strategy: Sell HIGH, Buy LOW|
|SELL 25 tonnes of copper at USD 3,171/ton||USD 79,275|
|BUY 25 tonnes of copper at USD 2,854/ton||USD 71,348|
|Investment (Initial Margin)||USD 15,000|
|Return on Investment||53%|
In the examples shown above, although copper prices have moved by only 10%, the ROI generated is 0%. This leverage is made possible by the relatively low margin (approximately 19%) required to control a large amount of copper represented by each contract.
Leverage is a double edged weapon. The above examples only depict positive scenarios whereby the market is favorable towards you. If the market turn against you, you will be required to top up your account to meet the margin requirements in order for your futures position to remain open.
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