Is Sugar Ready for a Correction?

10/28/2013 7:00 am EST


In the last seven weeks, sugar futures have advanced better than 15%, making it one of the best performing commodities in recent months, writes Matthew Bradbard of RCM Asset Management.

Sugar (SGG) continues earning bragging rights trying to keep pace with the stock market, which as of this post is trading at fresh records highs. Friday’s action spurred by a fire at a warehouse in Brazil (EWZ) may prove to be an interim top as trade near 13′ highs were rejected above 20 cents in March 14′ futures. The overall fundamental picture though bullish does not merit sugar prices at current levels. A correction in the near term is how I would be positioning…which means lightening up on bullish trade or with small size establishing bearish trade.

Friday’s close was 3.25% off intra-day highs and we experienced a significant volume spike…two preliminary signs of an interim top. Volume approached 400,000 contracts on the session, which was the largest number of contracts traded in one session since 08′. The initial estimate is that 180,000 tonnes of sugar were destroyed but that only amounts to 5% of the projected 4M tonnes of a surplus for the year and we are expecting a bumper crop out of India and Thailand…all about perspective. If exports are disrupted in the next few weeks out of this Brazilian port this would be a bigger development but that does not appear likely at this juncture. Friday was likely an over reaction and will serve as an interim top. Use the Fibonacci levels  and the trend line seen on the chart below to help navigate bearish trade or for levels to add length on bullish trade.

Click to Enlarge

My stance is the sugar market will need fresh supply news to rationalize higher trade and even current trade. Let me be clear, I remain bullish but think the market has gotten ahead of itself.

Trade Ideas:
Those in agreement looking for an immediate correction could purchase at the money December or January put options. December 19.50 puts currently intrinsic by 10 tics are trading just over $500 per, 26 days until expiration with a 53% delta. The 19 strike in January with twice as much time but 40 tics out of the money is currently at $475, the delta as of this post is 39%. Risk the entire premium paid looking to capitalize on a potential depreciation.

Short March 14′ futures and sell out of the money puts 1:1. The trade has four months time, though I think you are out of the trade in the next two-three weeks. Look to sell a put and collect ballpark $600-700 per. The delta should be approximately 40% so one should capture 1/2 the underlying move and have a slight cushion on an adverse move higher. On a settlement above 20 cents cut losses on the trade. Use the Fibonacci levels to guide you on your exit.

By Matthew Bradbard of RCM Asset Management

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