The dollar/rand Maxi Currency Futures Contract is a Currency Future with a larger nominal size of US$100 000 per contract instead of the normal size of US$1 000 per contract. The larger contract has been introduced to meet market demand and to encourage the trading of larger contracts on JSE.
A Currency Futures Contract is an agreement that gives the investor the right to buy or sell an underlying currency at a fixed exchange rate at a specified date in the future. One party to the agreement agrees to buy (longs) the Future at a specified exchange rate and the other agrees to sell (shorts) it at the expiry date. The underlying instrument of a Currency Future Contract is the rate of exchange between one unit of foreign currency and the South African rand.
Who is this for?
Currency Futures allow participants to take a view on the movement of the exchange rate. Investors, importers, exporters and travellers can use Currency Futures to protect themselves against movements in the exchange rate. This is known as hedging.
For example, an importer might need to make a payment, quoted in foreign currency, for an order of goods in three months’ time. He expects the foreign currency to strengthen and this will make the payment larger in rand terms and therefore impact on his profits. He can use a Currency Future to offset this risk by already agreeing to buy foreign currency at a set exchange rate in three months’ time.
Hedgers have a real interest in the underlying currency and use Futures as a way of preserving their performance, but speculators can also use Currency Futures to make a profit on short-term movements in prices. Arbitrageurs can also use them to profit from price differentials of similar products in different markets.
Investors can also use Currency Futures to enhance the performance of a portfolio of assets over the long term.
- Can provide protection against exchange rate fluctuations in investment portfolios.
- Can help to fix prices for import and export purposes.
- Allow investors to take advantage of price movements in the exchange rate because they can take a view as to whether the exchange rate will strengthen or weaken.
- Enable individuals to access the currency market, which is generally reserved for institutions, and enables smaller corporate entities to access favourable rates, which are generally reserved for the larger corporates.
- Standardised contracts traded on a regulated exchange reduce the risk of both parties and increase the liquidity in the secondary trading market, so Currency Futures are easy to buy and sell.
- There is risk involved in Currency Futures trading owing to the effect that gearing or leverage has on a position. A geared transaction is simply the deposit of a smaller amount of cash, but being exposed to the full value of the transaction. Investors deposit the initial margin amount but are exposed to the full nominal value of the contracts traded and can lose more than the initial margin they paid to open a Futures Contract. The profits and losses on the underlying currency can be up to ten times more than on the future.
- Currency Futures are traded based on margin and the margin changes are based on market volatility and the current face value of the contract. This means that investors may be required to make daily additional payments should their initial margin payment become insufficient because of movements in the underlying currency.
How to get Maxi Currency Futures
Register as a client with an authorised JSE Commodity Derivatives member firm , deposit the required initial margin and sell or buy according to your needs.
- Futures Contracts are subject to margining, which means that you have to pay a deposit upfront to protect both parties should one party fail to hold up its part of the agreement. Daily interest is earned on this margin, which is held by the Exchange.
- No limits apply to individuals, foreigners or corporate entities. Corporate entities do not need to apply to the Reserve Bank for approval to trade Currency Futures, nor do they have to report their trades.
- Please speak to your broker about the details of the qualifying factors.