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Wednesday, 2 October 2013

insurance trade

Generally insurance trades are a waste of money, but the House Republicans seem determined to test that idea to destruction. It's a ninety-something percent probability that the debt ceiling is fixed by mid October, but if it isn't then it's nice to have protection. The best I can see is schatz and bobl calls expiring on Oct25th.

If the politicians screw up, the US could be in selective default soon after Oct 17th. That will raise a question mark against the eligibility of Treasuries as collateral for CSAs etc, and there'll be a mad scramble for every other government bond as banks and hedge funds try to get hold of replacement collateral. That points to Schatz and Bobl calls. Surprisingly the Nov calls (25th Oct expiry) are cheap : 0.01 for the Schatz 110.70 calls and 0.02 for Bobl 126.00 calls. If the unthinkable happens Schatz will trade to negative yields - we were there last year after all, so the precedent has been set - and these calls are in the money. Possible payout ratios could be 50:1 or higher, which seems a lot better than anything available in spx puts.

The real purpose is obviously to provide the backstop to buy equities if/when things are looking really ugly. We're not there yet though.

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