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As another impending round of monthly U.S. Department of Agriculture crop data threatens to roil agricultural markets, CME Group's weekly grain options offer an increasingly efficient and cost-effective means to manage risk during uncertain times, advisors say.
Premiums for traditional corn, soybean and wheat options have been unusually expensive this year as a devastating U.S. drought boosted market volatility. As a result, many traders are turning more toward the weekly versions, according to The Hightower Report, a CME Group contributor. In August, weekly corn options trading averaged 5,668 contracts a day, a record since the contracts began were launched in May 2011.
"These options have become more popular as a speculative and hedging tool because of lower premiums and reduced hedging costs," Hightower analysts wrote in a report. The options can also protect against sharp price springs following the release of key USDA reports, such as Crop Production and Supply and Demand updates scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Central time October 11.
In their report, Hightower analysts detailed three potential weekly options strategies for commercial grain handlers and processors as well as speculators that could be applied ahead of USDA report days and for market-moving weather events, such as early freezes and hurricanes.