Derivatives are financial instruments that derive value from the underlying. The
underlying can be stocks, currency, bonds or commodities.
Derivatives instruments in India involve futures and options. Futures can be termed
as bundle of stocks or indices that can be bought or sold on exchanges at a predetermined
price and date. Options on the other hand give the buyer a right but not an obligation
to buy or sell and underlying at a predetermined price.
Futures can be used to hedge a portfolio. They can also be used for arbitrage which
may arise from difference between futures and spot price. Futures can also be used
to benefit from expected increase/decrease in price of the underlying by paying
initial margin. Options provide lucrative trading opportunities for people with
low risk appetite. Options can also be used to hedge the risk associated with buying
or selling futures. Options being flexible can be used to devise synthetic positions.
Individuals tend to over leverage their positions which can result in significant
loss. Options can result in time decay if underlying continues to trade in range.
Options are also exposed to risk arising from increase/decrease in implied volatility.
Commodity derivatives markets have been in existence for years, driven by
the efforts of commodities producers, users, traders and investors to manage their
business and financial risks.
Producers want to manage the exposure to changes in the prices they receive for
their produce. They are mostly focused on achieving the same effect as fixed prices
on contracts to sell their produce. A silver producer, for example, wants to hedge
its losses from a fall in the price of silver for its current silver inventory.
Agri producers need to hedge the risk of price changes in cotton, coffee, beans
and other commodities they sell.
End-users want to hedge the prices at which they can purchase commodities. An oil
refinery and oil marketing company wants to lock in the price of the crude oil it
needs to purchase in order to satisfy the peak in demand.
Investors and financial intermediaries can either buy or sell commodities through
the use of derivatives. Today, the commodity derivatives market is the primary economic
sector for the exchange/trading of essential goods and products.
Currency derivatives are a contract between the seller and buyer, whose value
is to be derived from the underlying asset i.e. the currency value. A derivative
based on currency exchange rate is an agreement that two currencies can be exchanged
in a specific quantity of a particular currency pair at a future date.Currency Derivatives
can be Future and Options contracts which are similar to the Stock Futures and Options
but the underlying happens to be currency pair (i.e. USDINR, EURINR, JPYINR OR GBPINR)
instead of Stocks. Currency Derivatives are available on four currency pairs viz.
US Dollars (USD), Euro (EUR), Great Britain Pound (GBP) and Japanese Yen (JPY).
Currency options are currently available on US Dollars.