My last blog talked about which contract expirations get most of the (limited) trading. This one shows (see table below) where the tightest bid/ask spreads are (today). That’s important as the markets with the narrowest bid/ask spreads tend to be the ones with the greatest likelihood of a trade. After all, if a buyer and seller are 4 points apart the difference may be too much to surmount, or there may not be market events that would cause a buyer or seller to change their price so much very quickly. However, a market with a bid/ask spread of 0.20 points (the minimum price move) might result in trade should either side (assuming that the bidder is not the person offering) should either party changes their mind even slightly.
The table also shows that there are two-sided markets in all contracts out to Nov 2017, but after that only in a few contracts (ones that I think other traders might have an interest). (Note that a new Aug 2017 contract will appear when the Feb 2016 contract expires.)
The two tightest bid/ask spreads (by expiration) are highlighted in green, while the two widest are highlighted in red. I try to keep the CUS (10-city index) as always one of the tightest bid/ask contracts as CUS contracts are of national interest and they can be used as one side of Intercity (IC spreads). Bid/ask spreads are shown in points, so lower-priced contracts (e.g. CHI) might show up as one of the tightest contracts, but not necessarily on a percentage basis. Conversely, any higher priced contracts that show up on the tightest list, will be even more relatively tight on a percentage basis.
Bid/ask spreads tend to widen the longer the time to expiration, but not uniformly. As I’ve noted in other blogs the November expiration contracts are outstanding the longest, are the only contracts for hedging 3+ years, and thus tend to have the most open interest and tightest markets.
Some contracts might have wider bid/ask due to volatility (e.g. SFR) but some are wider just because they don’t seem to get much interest (e.g. DEN, and LAV).
I’d appreciate any help in narrowing any of these spreads with bids and/or offers or feel free to “adopt” one contract (or region) and make the markets yours.
Feel to contact me (email@example.com) if you like to chat about this table.