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

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

Example: Long Zinc Put Option

You observed that the near-month LME Zinc futures contract is trading at the price of USD 1,212 per tonne. A LME Zinc put option with the same expiration month and a nearby strike price of USD 1,200 is being priced at USD 80.80/ton. Since each underlying LME Zinc futures contract represents 25 tonnes of zinc, the premium you need to pay to own the put option is USD 2,020.

Assuming that by option expiration day, the price of the underlying zinc futures has fallen by 15% and is now trading at USD 1,030 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 zinc futures at the strike price of USD 1,200. In other words, it also means that you get to sell 25 tonnes of zinc at USD 1,200/ton on delivery day.

To take profit, you enter an offsetting long futures position in one contract of the underlying zinc futures at the market price of USD 1,030 per tonne, resulting in a gain of USD 170.00/ton. Since each LME Zinc put option covers 25 tonnes of zinc, gain from the long put position is USD 4,250. Deducting the initial premium of USD 2,020 you paid to purchase the put option, your net profit from the long put strategy will come to USD 2,230.

Long Zinc Put Option Strategy
Gain from Option Exercise=(Option Strike Price - Market Price of Underlying Futures) x Contract Size
=(USD 1,200/ton - USD 1,030/ton) x 25 ton
=USD 4,250
Investment=Initial Premium Paid
=USD 2,020
Net Profit=Gain from Option Exercise - Investment
=USD 4,250 - USD 2,020
=USD 2,230
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 zinc option sale will be equal to it's intrinsic value.

Learn More About Zinc Futures & Options Trading

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