DERIVATIVE CASES An Investment Linked to Commodity Futures Professor Richard Spurgin FIN 5310 – 1 Group 1 Zhongyi Qian Hao Cheng Yue Zhao Liuyang Gao Motivation for issuing the security Prior to the Swedish Export Credit Co. issued the security, the performance of the GSCI showed that this index was clearly attractive. First, the increasing-trend cumulative total returns were higher than the returns on S&P 500 and the Treasury bonds, and then it became more diversified with more futures contracts introduced after 1980.

Besides, another attractive feature of the GSCI was its ability to act as a hedge against inflation because it had a strong positive correlation with the two most widely used measures of inflation: CPI and PPI. In addition, the investment on the GSCI had the potential to decrease the risk of a portfolio because its returns were negatively correlated with returns on stocks and bonds. We could examine the index performance more specifically. The total returns on the GSCI consisted of three components, the yield from the collateral Treasury bill, the spot return and the roll yield from the futures.

According to the total return of the GSCI prior to 1990, we could find that the contribution of the T-bill yield was substantial and relatively stable while that of the spot return was small on average and extremely volatile and that of the roll yield was positive though somewhat volatile. The primary source of return changed based on different period with different financial environment and weighting strategy. Spot return contributed a lot in the inflationary period while the roll yield contributed more in the isinflationary period. As for the returns after 1991, we consider it reasonable to assume that the GSCI would continue to generate hefty returns. Since the prices of crude oil futures included in the GSCI had been in backwardation 80% to 85%, GSCI generated high roll yield that significantly contribute to the total return during 1981-1990. Therefore, we can say that in 1991-1993, with substantial contribution of T-bill yield and relatively high roll yield, the total return of the GSCI would continue to be hefty in short term.

As a consequence, the GSCI would get more attractive and hence popularizing securities exclusively tied to it such as notes issued by Swedish Export. In addition, it was true that GSCI was particularly attractive because it had negative correlation with the US stock market. From Exhibit 4, we can obviously find returns of GSCI had negative correlation (actually -0. 32) with returns of S&P 500 and in the meanwhile, generated relatively higher returns than those of S&P prior to 1991. As far as we concerned, it make a lot of sense since it’s a fully collateralized portfolio of commodity futures.

As we know, in theory, commodities futures perform well when financial assets perform worse , that is to say, GSCI has a negative correlation with stock markets. Structure of the security It is possible to replicate the GSCI by making a portfolio, which contains the future contracts of the commodities that includes in the GSCI and the futures of each individual commodity can be weighed approximately the same percentage as they are in the current GSCI. When the future reaches to its maturity, the future contract will be rolled over into the next nearest contract just like the way the GSCI was calculated.

In this way we can replicate the GSCI index and the return should be also approximately equal to it. As for the tradeoff between buying the structured note and the replicating portfolio, one should compare them in different aspects. Although the nominal return maybe theoretically the same, the actual return of the structured note should be higher than the replicating portfolio because the transaction fees and charges will be charged in the progress of making and keeping the portfolio. To replicate the payoffs of the GSCI, the investor also needs to put a certain amount of money as the frequent margin and/or collateral postings.

Besides, if the investor wants to sell what he has for cash, then he will find the liquidity for the structured note is much higher than the replicating portfolio. However, the investors would only get paid 95. 57% of the increase rate of GSCI index from the structure note while they did not have such limitation on the replicating portfolio. On this transaction, Goldman Sachs earned commission fee as 0. 35% of the total amount of the note, which was $350,000, but they got far more than this for creating the index. In addition to the notes described in this case, Goldman Sachs offered a number of other products related to the index.

Each of these products would generate a huge amount of commission. For Swedish Export Corp. , they could finance with no fix interest paid and the possibility that the cost of financing was even cheaper than that of issuing company bond directly definitely existed. Investors would like to have this structure note in portfolios not only because the advantages illustrated above, but also because it had a negative correlation with the stock market, so it could hedge the portfolio risk to some extent. How the deal performed over time

To calculate the total return, we first need to calculate the cash flows (Table 1) by using the formula, Par*[0. 9557 *GSCI End / GSCI Begin], and when at maturity the value investors could redeem is $78781. 54. Thus the total return of security is as below: (78781. 54/100000)^(1/3)-1=-7. 64%; 39390. 77/50000)^(1/3)-1=7. 64% Compared with other alternatives such as Managed Futures Funds, Swap Transaction and CRB Futures Index, it seemed that GSCI was a good investment since all these three alternatives had relatively lower return than GSCI and still in the decreasing trend.

However, the total return of GSCI was declining from 1991 to 1994. Besides, the T- bill yield was higher than the GSCI return, which made this investment meaningless. Additionally, we calculated the yearly return of GSCI and downloaded the return of S&P and Treasury of these four years. Correlations between GSCI return and S&P and Treasury return is showed in Table 2. It was obviously that there were positive correlation between the GSCI return and S&P and also positive between GSCI and Treasury, which meant that this future contract could not decrease risk effectively.

Therefore, in retrospect from 1991 to 1994, the GSCI futures contract decreased the overall return and at the same time failed to diversify the risk of the investment portfolio. It was not a good investment for investors. Table 1 Year| Par=100000| Par=50000| 11/1/91| 95570. 00| 47785. 00| 11/30/94| 78781. 54| 39390. 77| Table 2 Year| Return| S&P| Treasury| 91| -5. 46%| 30. 23%| 5. 61%| 92| -4. 09%| 7. 49%| 3. 41%| 93| -8. 20%| 9. 97%| 2. 98%| 94| -7. 64%| 1. 33%| 3. 99%| | | | | S&P and return| 0. 327556756| T and return| 0. 302031481|