Trading at settlement (TAS) is an efficient and transparent way to trade agricultural futures – including grains and livestock.

TAS an order type that allows buyers and sellers to transact at or near that day’s settlement price during the trading day, before the settlement price has been determined, up to four ticks above or below the settlement price. In the order book this would be represented in the same price units as the underlying futures, which differ among grains and livestock.

TAS also provides an alternative to floor-based market-on-close (MOC) orders.

TAS Example

Say a grain elevator executes a forward contract with a farmer that is based off of that day’s December Corn futures settlement price. To hedge his position, the grain elevator looks to sell futures contracts at the settlement. In this case, he would enter a TAS order to sell at zero,  otherwise known as TAS zero, or TAS Flat or TAS Par.

On the other side of that trade might be a grain processor looking to buy some or all of those contracts at the settlement price, or TAS flat.

At the end of the day, after the settlement price has been derived, the grain elevator will be short December Corn futures at that settlement price, and the grain processor will be long at the same price.

Price Variation

TAS orders allow for a little price variation because TAS bids and offers at flat may not always be present in the order book. And for that reason, price variation up to 4 ticks above or below the settlement price is allowed to facilitate participation.

EXAMPLE

Say a beef producer wants to sell one April Live Cattle futures contract at the settlement price.

There is no bid for TAS flat, but he is willing to give up one tick to receive a price near the settlement. He enters a TAS minus one offer into the order book, which means he is willing to sell at the settlement price, minus one tick - or 2.5 cents per hundredweight.

Meanwhile, a beef packer needs to buy one April Live Cattle futures contract at or near the settlement price, so she lifts the offer and buys one contract at TAS minus one. The trades are matched.

At the end of the day, the contract settles at $153.40. Here is how the pricing would look.

The producer would sell one Live Cattle futures contract at $153.400 minus one tick, or 2.5 cents, and receives $153.375 per hundredweight. Similarly, the buyer gets it at that price.

TAS Spreads

Say you wanted to buy a November - January Soybean Calendar Spread at TAS plus one and the trade was matched and executed.

At the end of the trading day, the November contract settles at $11 and the January contract at $11.08.

The November leg will be priced at $11 and 1/4 cent, which is the settlement price plus one tick, or 1/4 cent.

The January leg will be priced at the contract settlement price of $11.08. So, the TAS spread is 7 and 3/4 cents.

Whether you want to trade outright or spreads, you can enter a TAS order anytime during the pre-open and trading day, right up to the end of the settlement period. TAS is a straight forward, flexible and transparent way to trade grains and livestock contacts at CME Group.

For more information on trading at settlement and other order types, go to www.cmegroup.com/agtas.

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