Buying Copper Put Options to Profit from a Fall in Copper Prices

If you are bearish on copper, you can profit from a fall in copper price by buying (going long) copper put options.

Example: Long Copper Put Option

You observed that the near-month NYMEX Copper futures contract is trading at the price of USD 1.4750 per pound. A NYMEX Copper put option with the same expiration month and a nearby strike price of USD 1.5000 is being priced at USD 0.1000/lb. Since each underlying NYMEX Copper futures contract represents 25,000 pounds of copper, the premium you need to pay to own the put option is USD 2,500.

Assuming that by option expiration day, the price of the underlying copper futures has fallen by 15% and is now trading at USD 1.2540 per pound. At this price, your put option is now in the money.

Gain from Put Option Exercise

By exercising your put option now, you get to assume a short position in the underlying copper futures at the strike price of USD 1.5000. In other words, it also means that you get to sell 25,000 pounds of copper at USD 1.5000/lb on delivery day.

To take profit, you enter an offsetting long futures position in one contract of the underlying copper futures at the market price of USD 1.2538 per pound, resulting in a gain of USD 0.2460/lb. Since each NYMEX Copper put option covers 25,000 pounds of copper, gain from the long put position is USD 6,150. Deducting the initial premium of USD 2,500 you paid to purchase the put option, your net profit from the long put strategy will come to USD 3,650.

Long Copper Put Option Strategy
Gain from Option Exercise=(Option Strike Price - Market Price of Underlying Futures) x Contract Size
=(USD 1.5000/lb - USD 1.2540/lb) x 25000 lb
=USD 6,150
Investment=Initial Premium Paid
=USD 2,500
Net Profit=Gain from Option Exercise - Investment
=USD 6,150 - USD 2,500
=USD 3,650
Return on Investment=146%

Sell-to-Close Put Option

In practice, there is often no need to exercise the put option to realise the profit. You can close out the position by selling the put option in the options market via a sell-to-close transaction. Proceeds from the option sale will also include any remaining time value if there is still some time left before the option expires.

In the example above, since the sale is performed on option expiration day, there is virtually no time value left. The amount you will receive from the copper option sale will be equal to it's intrinsic value.

Learn More About Copper Futures & Options Trading

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