August 9, 2022

Institutional frenzy continues as CME Bitcoin trades at over 1% premium

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After a surprise rally fueled by an update to Elon Musk’s Twitter biography, demand for Bitcoin (BTC) appears to be particularly strong in professional trading circles.

According to TradingView data, the ticker BTC1!, which represents CME’s Bitcoin futures contracts with the closest expiry — currently for February — is trading at over a 1% premium over spot BTC markets. This positive deviation in prices between a future and the underlying — which traders call “contango” — indicates that few institutions are willing to be short on the asset. Since this difference can be arbitraged, a consistent contango condition means that the buying pressure is overwhelming arbitrageurs, who cannot keep the price divergence in chec.

A one percent deviation on a contract expiring in one month is significant. It is normal for longer-dated contracts to have significant deviation, as the longer the wait, the less compelling the arbitrage opportunity becomes. The attractiveness of such an opportunity is compared to the “risk-free interest rate,” usually U.S. Treasury bonds. Current yield is just over 1% per annum, meaning that making 1% in a month should be more than lucrative.

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Published Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2021 16:10:37 +0000