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

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

Example: Long Nickel Put Option

You observed that the near-month LME Nickel futures contract is trading at the price of USD 10,100 per tonne. A LME Nickel put option with the same expiration month and a nearby strike price of USD 10,000 is being priced at USD 673.33/ton. Since each underlying LME Nickel futures contract represents 6 tonnes of nickel, the premium you need to pay to own the put option is USD 4,040.

Assuming that by option expiration day, the price of the underlying nickel futures has fallen by 15% and is now trading at USD 8,585 per tonne. 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 nickel futures at the strike price of USD 10,000. In other words, it also means that you get to sell 6 tonnes of nickel at USD 10,000/ton on delivery day.

To take profit, you enter an offsetting long futures position in one contract of the underlying nickel futures at the market price of USD 8,585 per tonne, resulting in a gain of USD 1,415/ton. Since each LME Nickel put option covers 6 tonnes of nickel, gain from the long put position is USD 8,490. Deducting the initial premium of USD 4,040 you paid to purchase the put option, your net profit from the long put strategy will come to USD 4,450.

Long Nickel Put Option Strategy
Gain from Option Exercise=(Option Strike Price - Market Price of Underlying Futures) x Contract Size
=(USD 10,000/ton - USD 8,585/ton) x 6 ton
=USD 8,490
 
Investment=Initial Premium Paid
=USD 4,040
 
Net Profit=Gain from Option Exercise - Investment
=USD 8,490 - USD 4,040
=USD 4,450
 
Return on Investment=110%

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 nickel option sale will be equal to it's intrinsic value.

Learn More About Nickel Futures & Options Trading

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