There are different methods for extracting probabilities from options prices. A number of these involve estimating a probability density function (PDF) by inverting an options pricing formula such as Black-Scholes and using option market prices to solve for the pricing density function. Most theoretical option pricing models rely on an assumption of lognormally distributed prices or normally distributed log returns. These models assume this standard normal density function applies to value an option of any strike price for a given expiration. Observed futures price returns, however, may not conform to a standard normal distribution. Observed returns may be skewed or kurtotic, meaning the realized price distributions could have greater probabilities of extreme price moves and tend to cluster more returns around current futures price levels versus these models. The effect on option prices in the market is for volatility to vary by strike price. Instead of the same volatility for each option strike, “implied volatilities” will differ by strike. These strike and time-varying implied volatilities imply a probability density function of futures returns that may have greater skew or kurtosis than a standard normal.
It is possible to estimate this non-standard normal probability density function by inverting theoretical value equations and solving for an implied probability distribution that fits current option market prices. Note, different methods can yield slightly different implied probabilities as more than one density function can satisfy current option prices, given the same constraints. The method used for the CME OPEC Watch Tool probabilities is as follows:
D N (d2)/D Moneyness
Where Moneyness is defined as Log(K/F)/Sqr(dte)
See the Probabilities tab on the CME OPEC Watch Tool for a table of the implied distribution calculation values.
All examples in this tool are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views in this tool reflect solely those of the author and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. This tool and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience. CME Group expressly disclaims all liability for the use or interpretation (whether by visitor or by others) of information contained herein. Decisions based on this information are the sole responsibility of the visitor. The visitor agrees to hold the CME Group and its affiliates and licensors harmless against any claims for damages arising from any decisions that the visitor makes based on such information. Nothing contained in this tool constitutes investment advice, nor does it constitute the solicitation of the purchase or sale of any futures or options.
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Count down to the next Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC meeting with the CME OPEC Watch Tool, based on WTI Crude Oil Option prices.