Short option trading in the commodity markets is sometimes touted as an easy money strategy, but the truth is there is no such thing as easy money in the commodity markets.
Nevertheless, there are some compelling arguments to suggest that option sellers face favorable odds of success over option buyers, or outright futures traders. But, even putting the odds in your favor doesn’t guarantee a favorable outcome. Here are some aspects of option selling that should be considered before employing a premium collection strategy.
1. It takes money to make money when selling options on futures
Short option traders must be properly funded to be capable of riding out any storm that might materialize. During times of excessive commodity market volatility, many traders turn to the limited risk of option buying. This has a tendency to artificially inflate commodity option prices, due to the increase in demand for the securities. Also, in a more volatile market environment, commodity traders often believe it is more likely that a long option strategy will have an opportunity to pay off. I argue this is a false perception because options on futures buyers must overcome their cost of entry before turning a profit; the higher the price of the option on the way in, the bigger the obstacle to being profitable will be. Nevertheless, in all of the excitement traders often behave emotionally rather than logically; as a result, they exuberantly bid up the prices of low probability options to shocking levels.