The global market for exchange-traded currency options was notionally valued by the Bank for International Settlements at $158.3 trillion in 2005 For example, a GBPUSD contract could give the owner the right to sell ? In this case the pre-agreed exchange rate, or strike price, is 2.0000 USD per GBP (or GBP/USD 2.00 as it is typically quoted) and the notional amounts (notionals) are ? This type of contract is both a call on dollars and a put on sterling, and is typically called a GBPUSD put, as it is a put on the exchange rate; although it could equally be called a USDGBP call. If instead they take the profit in GBP (by selling the USD on the spot market) this amounts to 100,000 / 1.9000 = 52,632 GBP.
If the rate is lower than 2.0000 on December 31 (say 1.9000), meaning that the dollar is stronger and the pound is weaker, then the option is exercised, allowing the owner to sell GBP at 2.0000 and immediately buy it back in the spot market at 1.9000, making a profit of (2.0000 GBPUSD ? Although FX options are more widely used today than ever before, few multinationals act as if they truly understand when and why these instruments can add to shareholder value.
The foreign exchange options market is the deepest, largest and most liquid market for options of any kind.
Most trading is over the counter (OTC) and is lightly regulated, but a fraction is traded on exchanges like the International Securities Exchange, Philadelphia Stock Exchange, or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for options on futures contracts.
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