© Reuters. Trader Makes Lottery-Ticket Bet on U.S. Natural Gas Doubling to $10
(Bloomberg) — A trader is making a big bet on the odds of U.S. doubling by summer.
The trader bought an unusually big chunk of 31,382 options contracts on Thursday that would give them the right to buy gas at $10 per million British thermal units by the end of July. As part of the trade, it sold a similar-sized package of $10.50 calls that will expire on the same day, according to block trade data compiled by Bloomberg.
The transaction cost less than 2 cents per mmbtu of gas — which corresponds to the price difference between the $10 calls and the $10.50 calls — and totaled more than $5 million. The trader would benefit most from a rally to $10.50 before the options expire on July 26, allowing to it to make 50 cents per mmbtu, or more than $150 million minus the premium paid for doing the trade.
Natural gas futures surged more than 50% in the first quarter, a record for the period, due to concerns about tight inventories for the heating and power-plant fuel amid booming export demand. Still, a surge to $10 by summer is seen as unlikely. The commodity traded in New York at about $5.70 on Friday and should average $3.70 in the third quarter, according to analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.
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