The Futures and Derivatives Markets, Part 2: Rigging the indices to win
by tonytran2015 (Melbourne, Australia).
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#futures market, #index, #rigging,
This blog post is designed to explain the method of manipulations of those markets. The blog does NOT advise anyone to enter those high risk markets.
The future and derivative markets are usually rigged and manipulated by “investment institutions”, genuine users of those future index contracts for hedging are actual losers.
1. “Investment institutions” have all the advantage:
1a/- Ability to move the indices at decision (score setting) time.
“Investment funds” manage the investment portfolios of their wealthy clients. In those contracts of management they are allowed to borrow from their clients the shares or the contracts of delivery of commodities. So they can borrow from their.clients massive amounts of shares or contracts of delivery of commodities to flood the markets, which are not liquid, with sell orders in the final minute leading to decision time to drive the relevant indices down.
On the other hand, *investment funds” can also borrow massive amounts money from the “cash management accounts” of their clients. So they can borrow money from their.clients to flood the markets, which are not liquid, with buy orders in the final minute leading to decision time to drive the relevant indices up.
“Investment funds” and “hedge funds” thus have the ability to drive some indices up or down by flooding the non-liquid markets in their final minutes leading to decision (score setting) times. The computers of the markets may even get overloaded by such flooding.
Obviously, although they can move their chosen indices, they have brokerage fees and interest payments as their costs.
1b/- Ability to bet large amounts of money using margin loans from the “league of investment funds”.
With such loans, a bet player allows his creditor to close off all his bettings if the index moves against him and he cannot provide more money to hold on with his betting position.
“Investment funds” use their available credits from margin loans to bet for winning ten times the costs of moving the relevant indices. They become counter-parties for genuine “hedge users”.
1c/- Winning bets by moving the indices.
Most of the times, “investment funds” sell down or buy up the commodities or shares prices effecting those indices for betting to make themselves winning their bets on each score setting day.
2. Illustrative example 1:
Suppose that current gold price is $1000/ounce. A gold producer wants to produce 1000,000oz of gold at that price in one year time. So if gold price goes up $1/ounce on that date, the producer will win additional $1M and similarly will lose for the other direction. To stabilize its finance the company would enter bets that makes it win $1M for every $1/oz fall in gold price and lose $1 Million for every rise of $1/oz in Gold price (“going SHORT” on gold price”).
. The gold producer is the genuine hedge user. An “investment fund” took the bet and became its counter party.
At the end of the period, the gold producers have 1M oz of gold to sell on the market. Suppose that its sales during that month are only around $950/oz. It got $50M less than required. An honest gold index would be 950 and its counter party has to hand it $50M. However, the counter-party is an investment fund and on the score setting day, the fund can easily move the index to $990/oz and have to give to the gold miner only $10M, rather than $50M.
So the “investment fund” has ripped off $40M from the gold producer.
It is also possible that some big seller may decide to take advantage of flooding purchase orders from the investment fund at the last minute to sell all his gold at $990/oz
It is possible that some big seller may also use the same trick of selling at the last minute to sell all his gold at $990/oz. In this case the investment fund may lose big amounts and go bankrupt. A financial melt down may then follow. The government would hastily jump in using tax payers’ money to rescue the investment fund.
3. Shaking out speculators.
There may be investors who feel that they know about the market and know which directions the indices should move. Each may enter a “derivative contract” against the index movers to bet that a particular index will move in its anticipated direction. Each needs to be well funded. Otherwise the index movers may move that index too far in the adverse direction and the betting speculator has to put more and more money on the table to keep his bet alive, until he can no longer top up his betting deposit and has to enter a stop-loss, meaning to accept the defeat artificially created by index movers and lose all money already placed on the bet. The speculator is then said to have been shaken off by the index movers who will subsequently release the index after winning the bets from many speculators.
Index movers can even move any single index wildly up then wildly down to shake off all inadequately funded speculators irrespective of their betting directions. They often win significant amounts from this type of operation.
4. Example of unintended consequences:
Flooding the market with orders at the last minute to move an index sometimes causes unintended serious consequences.
It is most dreadful when the market is flooded with sell orders of shares of banks and financial institutions with non-transparent periodic reports. Automatic sell orders by large holders of those shares may get triggered and these “sell at market price” orders may join the selling flood, causing a meltdown of financial stocks on the market. Those going short on those stock may win big amount but the market enters an official crash!
Tuesday’s announcement by the Department of Justice of a guilty plea by a former trader of JPMorgan for systemic “spoofing” and price manipulation of gold, silver, platinum and palladium traded on the COMEX and NYMEX futures exchanges (owned by the CME Group) sure seemed like a very big deal …. The infractions occurred from 2009 to 2015 and the trader admitted to engaging in a conspiracy to commit market manipulation on hundreds of occasions, with the knowledge and consent of his immediate supervisors. [1, 2]
“If this has occurred recurrently, it is a BIG story because it suggests systematic favoritism,”
Added after 30 June 2019:
Indeed, after a cornering in the silver market sent prices sky-high on the Commodities Exchange in New York in the 1970s and early 1980s, trading interest in the contract declined substantially and has only recently recovered. In copper, not only the LME, but also the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange has lost copper volume in the last 12 months.
Last year, copper prices plunged by 45 cents, to less than 95 cents a pound from above $1.30, after Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. revealed that its copper-trading division had racked up billions of dollars in losses with copper positions. Because Sumitomo was taking a bullish position in copper, prices for the metal had remained artificially high during the alleged trading activity.
Hamanaka’s manipulation was common knowledge among many speculators and hedge funds, along with the fact that he was long in both physical holdings and futures in copper. Whenever someone tried to short Hamanaka, however, he kept pouring cash into his positions, outlasting the shorts simply by having deeper pockets. Hamanaka’s long cash positions forced anyone shorting copper to deliver the goods or close out their position at a premium.
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