The cruellest month

Recent financial blow-ups at prominent hedge funds have been blamed on the blow-out of Nymex inter-month natural gas future contract spreads. In particular the volatility of the March-April spread has been mentioned as the source of the losses. Traders often buy long-dated March natural gas for price appreciation from unexpectedly high northern hemisphere winter demand and sell an April contract to create a low risk hedge. Eleven of the 12 natural gas inter-month spread positions have low vo