IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of global regulated futures exchanges, clearing houses and over-the-counter (OTC) markets, today reported that open interest in ICE Brent Crude options on futures crossed one million contracts for the first time, closing at 1,004,699 contracts on May 1. The contract also established a daily volume record of 63,494 on May 2, surpassing the fifty thousand contract milestone for the first time ever. The previous daily volume record for Brent options of 48,644 contracts was set on April 3, 2012.
Open interest in Brent Crude options reached 500,000 contracts on January 25, 2012. In April, average daily volume (ADV) in Brent Crude options was 28,578 contracts, up more than 400% from April 2011 ADV of 5,565 contracts.
The ICE Brent Crude option is an American-style contract, allowing the buyer to exercise an option any time up to and including the expiry day. The contract is based on the ICE Brent Crude futures contract and results in a corresponding futures position at exercise.
Growth in trading activity for ICE Brent Crude options has been spurred by consolidation of Brent as the world's crude oil benchmark and rising demand for risk management in regulated energy futures markets, as well as the powerful options trading capabilities built into WebICE, ICE's online trading platform. ICE's highly liquid energy markets provide an efficient and easily accessible platform for all market participants.
Because it is seaborne, Brent crude has become the primary reference point for pricing some 65% of the world's crude oil from the North Sea to the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Since its introduction in 1988, the Brent futures contract has evolved to reflect changing market fundamentals in the North Sea and the requirements of market participants. Average daily volume for ICE Brent futures and options was 612,720 in April, an increase of 43% from April 2011.
In addition to American-style Brent Crude options ICE also clears European-style Brent Crude cash settled options, which are based on the underlying Brent Bullet, and Brent Crude Average Price Options, which are based on the underlying Brent 1st Line Swap.