March 8, 2011
Options traders are betting more than ever that crude oil is heading to $200 a barrel as some websites call for a “Day of Rage” in Saudi Arabia and anti- government protests spread in the Middle East and North Africa.
The CHART OF THE DAY shows open interest, or the number of outstanding contracts, for “call” options to buy New York crude for June delivery at $200 a barrel. The number has escalated, along with crude futures, to the highest since the options started trading in July 2009 amid worsening civil unrest in Libya and rare demonstrations in Saudi Arabia.
“If you look at the volatility and increase in money for call options in the last month or so, it does suggest that market participants are now more worried about the upside,” said Yingxi Yu, a Singapore-based commodity analyst with Barclays Plc. “People are also quite concerned about protests spreading across different parts of the region.”