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CHAPTER 3 Hedging Strategies Using Futures
Tutorial 3 - Practice Questions

Problem 3.1.
Under what circumstances are (a) a short hedge and (b) a long hedge appropriate?

A short hedge is appropriate when a company owns an asset and expects to sell that asset in the future. It can also be used when the company does not currently own the asset but expects to do so at some time in the future. A long hedge is appropriate when a company knows it will have to purchase an asset in the future. It can also be used to offset the risk from an existing short position.

Problem 3.2.
Explain what is meant by basis risk when futures contracts are used for hedging.

Basis risk arises from the hedger’s uncertainty as to the difference between the spot price and futures price at the expiration of the hedge.

Problem 3.3.
Explain what is meant by a perfect hedge. Does a perfect hedge always lead to a better outcome than an imperfect hedge? Explain your answer.

A perfect hedge is one that completely eliminates the hedger’s risk. A perfect hedge does not always lead to a better outcome than an imperfect hedge. It just leads to a more certain outcome. Consider a company that hedges its exposure to the price of an asset. Suppose the asset’s price movements prove to be favorable to the company. A perfect hedge totally neutralizes the company’s gain from these favorable price movements. An imperfect hedge, which only partially neutralizes the gains, might well give a better outcome.

Problem 3.5.
Give three reasons why the treasurer of a company might not hedge the company’s exposure to a particular risk. Explain your answer.

(a) If the company’s competitors are not hedging, the treasurer might feel that the company will experience less risk if it does not hedge. (See Table 3.1.) (b) The shareholders might not want the company to hedge because the risks are hedged within their portfolios. (c) If there is a loss on the hedge and a gain from the company’s exposure to the underlying asset, the treasurer might feel that he or she will have difficulty justifying the hedging to other executives within the organization.

Problem 3.7.
A company has a $20 million portfolio with a beta of 1.2. It would like to use futures contracts on the S&P 500 to hedge its risk. The index futures is currently standing at 1080, and each contract is for delivery of $250 times the index. What is the hedge that minimizes risk? What should the company do if it wants to reduce the beta of the portfolio to 0.6?

The formula for the number of contracts that should be shorted gives
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Rounding to the nearest whole number, 89 contracts should be shorted. To reduce the beta to 0.6, half of this position, or a short position in 44 contracts, is required.

Problem 3.8.
In the corn futures contract, the following delivery months are available: March, May, July, September, and December. State the contract that should be used for hedging when the expiration of the hedge is in a) June, b) July, and c) January

A good rule of thumb is to choose a futures contract that has a delivery month as close as possible to, but later than, the month containing the expiration of the hedge. The contracts that should be used are therefore a) July

b) September
c) March

Problem 3.9.
Does a perfect hedge always succeed in locking in the current spot price of an asset for a future transaction? Explain your answer.

No. Consider, for example, the use of a forward contract to hedge a known cash inflow in a foreign currency. The forward contract locks in the forward exchange rate — which is in general different from the spot exchange rate.

Problem 3.10.
Explain why a short hedger’s position improves when the basis strengthens unexpectedly and worsens when the basis weakens unexpectedly.

The basis is the amount by which the spot price exceeds the futures price. A short hedger is long the asset and short futures contracts. The value of...
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