Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of forward contracts and currency options compared to currency forwards.

Currency futures and options are mainly a  derivative product that large financial institutions use to either hedge exposure to financial investment exposure or speculate on FX price action.

If as an individual or company you want to hedge your currency exposure a more appropriate and much more accessible solution would be a currency forward.

However, it is important to consider all the options when dealing in currency risk management so here is a quick breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of forward contracts and currency options:

Advantages of currency futures contracts:

  • Low margin
  • High liquidity
  • Costs are very low
  • Potential to profit without taking delivery

Disadvantages of currency futures contracts:

  • Mainly paper based
  • Set amounts traded in lots
  • Losses can exceed your account balance
  • restricted to professional traders
  • Some brokers do not allow delivery

Advantages of currency options:

  • They are very cheap to trade
  • They are available on or off exchange
  • Risk is limited to premium (if you are a buyer)
  • Very high potential returns versus risk
  • Lots of strategies to speculate on volatility and price movement

Disadvantages of currency options:

  • They can be illiquid
  • Quickly become worthless
  • Risk is potentially unlimited (if you are a seller)

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