(Bloomberg) – With the world gripped by high energy costs and soaring inflation, oil options that would profit a buyer from Brent crude hitting $250 a barrel are changing hands.
The equivalent of 5 million barrels of Brent $250/$300 call spreads traded late on Thursday. The contracts would make money if oil rallies to levels that no analysts have called for since prices hit a record in 2008. Those contracts followed 8 million barrels of $200/$215 West Texas Intermediate call spreads and 4 million barrels of Brent at the same level for December 2022, the latest in a spate of options wagers on sharply higher prices.
With crude near seven-year highs of about $80 a barrel, bets on futures taking a leg higher have grown in recent months. Options for $100 a barrel have been changing hands for weeks, along with a smattering of other contracts above that. This is the first time this year that traders have been betting on crude exceeding $200 and values that are so far out of the ordinary often have to be specially enabled for trading by exchanges. The total cost of the all the contracts combined is about $1 million.
The trades also came on the same day as JPMorgan Chase & Co analysts including Christyan Malek wrote in a note to clients that oil could spike to above $100. There’s an increasing possibility that OPEC and its allies will divert crude supplies away from the U.S. because of souring relations with the Biden administration, they said. At the same time, producers have limited capacity to ramp up output in response to high prices, they said.
“We believe a worsening rhetoric between the U.S. administration and OPEC+ could deteriorate further into a scenario whereby the latter redirects U.S. exports eastward,” they wrote.