Talk of Oil at $100 Returns as Options Bets Jump: Energy Markets

Monday, November 29, 2010
By Paul Martin

By Grant Smith and Mark Shenk
Bloomberg.com

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) — Oil’s return to $100 has become the biggest bet in the crude options market.
The price of options to buy December 2011 futures at $100 a barrel jumped 14 percent on Nov. 24, the largest one-day gain in three months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. So-called open interest for the contract has risen 51 percent this year to 45,424 lots, the highest for any crude option on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

The increase in trading of $100 options shows some investors anticipate oil will rise at least 19 percent to levels last reached in 2008. While crude is up 6.3 percent this year as the economy recovers, Morgan Stanley said Nov. 1 that prices will reach $100 next year as spare production capacity shrinks. At the same time, BNP Paribas SA said Nov. 18 further price gains “will be difficult” as the Federal Reserve seeks to revive the U.S. economy through an extended stimulus program and Europe struggles to contain its sovereign debt crisis.

“The tug-of-war in oil prices continues as the short-term debt market concerns obscure improving oil-market fundamentals,” Lawrence Eagles, global head of commodities research at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said in a Nov. 26 report.

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