Posted By: Ilan Levy-Mayer Vice President, Cannon Trading Futures Blog
The sweep of the coronavirus around the world ranks as one of the most impactful events in decades. Due in large part to sweeping lockdowns of businesses, travel and social activities, global markets, particularly commodity markets, have experienced price disruptions on an unprecedented scale. Recall earlier this year, the front month crude oil futures contract (May) traded at a value below $0.00 per barrel and at the close of trading one day, its price settled at a negative value. Conversely, gold’s December futures contract recently reached an all-time high above $2,000 per ounce. These price moves and similar ones – in silver, copper, stock indexes like the S&P 500, Nasdaq & Dow Jones, lumber and others – can be at least partly attributed to abrupt changes in supply & demand patterns during this international health crisis and its effects on producers’ and consumers’ behavior.
In this environment, the case could be made to review trading strategies and make adjustments – in market selection (think “full-sized” vs. mini- or micro- contracts), risk parameters – both in terms of dollar value and price toleration – market selection/allocation, trade frequency and for automated systems, adjustments to algorithms. All this would be to expect a continuation of the last several months’ market movement/volatility.
As part of a strategy review, it would be a good idea to also be aware of any price limits or circuit breakers in place for the markets you’re trading. A price limit is the maximum price range allowed for a futures contract for a trading session. At those price limits, trading may halt for a period of time and an expanded price limit is set, or it may be stopped for the day. Circuit breakers are price limits that when hit, set a timer within which the market is restricted from moving beyond the price limit. In some markets, price limits and circuit breakers are based on percentage moves from the prior day’s closing price and thus are recalculated each day.
Grains and livestock futures contracts, for example, have daily price limits that remain in place for an entire trading session. Stock indexes have both price limits that remain in place for an entire trading session and several circuit breakers: ones that are in place overnight and others that work only during the day. During high volatility periods of time, if markets trade to circuit breakers or price limits, orders placed during at that time can be rejected by the exchange. In summary, knowing these price parameters is especially important.
For more information on how CME Group price limits and circuit breakers work, visit this link.
For specific CME Group price limits and circuit breakers, visit this link.
During this time, it’s more important than ever to be informed, aware and prepared. One of the best means available to help you is access to an experienced, knowledgeable broker. Not only do they have answers to questions regarding the items discussed above, they can look at your situation specifically and offer strategy guidance as well as educational material and information sources you may have overlooked, couldn’t find, or were unaware even existed. Contact Cannon Trading Company.
COVID-19 Impact on Futures Trading
- Increased volatility and risk
- New traders needed to understand limit down/ limit up
- Wild overnight swings
- Wild moves both ways
- MICROS are a valid tool
- Twitter is now a factor
- More than ever an experienced broker is an asset
Disclaimer – Trading Futures, Options on Futures, and retail off-exchange foreign currency transactions involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. You should carefully consider whether trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances, knowledge, and financial resources. You may lose all or more of your initial investment. Opinions, market data, and recommendations are subject to change at any time.