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华尔街天气衍生产品遭遇寒冬之谜

2014-01-09    来源:财富网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

降雪期货合约几年前一度十分兴盛,但最近几年却到了无人问津的地步。部分业内人士分析认为,这个市场缺乏一个类似标普500的指数,导致发展受阻。不过,它可能是一座被冻在冰雪深处的金矿。因此,部分业内人生仍然在努力行动,尝试激活这个市场。 

Wall Street is no longer minting money off the snow. But it's still trying.

华尔街再也不能从雪里淘出金子来。但它仍然在努力。

A few years ago, the market for financial contracts based on snowfall was, for lack of a better phrase, heating up. More and more firms began popping up to sell the specialized weather derivatives. Insurance firms hired traders who would focus on buying and selling the contracts. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange listed dozens of contracts based on snowfall in numerous cities that could be traded like stocks, and were expected to rise and fall daily based on the forecast. A number of large Wall Street firms seemed interested in getting into the market.

几年前,基于降雪的期货合约(没有更好的名称)在金融市场兴盛起来。突然推出天气衍生产品的公司越来越多。保险公司聘请了专门从事此类合约买卖的交易员。芝加哥商品交易所(Chicago Mercantile Exchange)挂牌了几十种天气期货合约,它们都基于众多城市的降雪情况,可以像股票一样交易,而且每天都会在天气预报的影响下出现涨跌。当时许多华尔街大公司似乎都有意进入这个市场。

These days, though, Wall Street's market for betting on snow has, well, melted. The CME says that not a single snow-related weather contract traded in 2013. That's down from 510 trades in 2011.

但时至今日,这个以降雪量为交易基础的市场可以说已经土崩瓦解。芝加哥商品交易所表示,2013年和降雪有关的期货合约没有发生任何实际交易。而在2011年,这样的交易出现了510笔。

"The market took off quickly, but then it never hit critical mass," says Jeff Hodgson, who heads the Chicago Weather Exchange and had sought to specialize in snow derivatives. Now Hodgson is focused on contracts tied to temperature or rainfall for utilities or farmers.

芝加哥天气交易所(Chicago Weather Exchange)负责人杰夫•霍奇森一度希望成为降雪衍生产品方面的专家,他说:“这个市场起步迅速,但一直没能达到临界规模。”现在,霍奇森把注意力集中在针对公用事业公司或农业生产者的气温或降雨期货合约上。

Edgar Bautista, who co-heads weather and commodities markets at AXIS Capital, says he hasn't traded a snow-related contract in over two years. "I used to see a lot of interest from municipalities that wanted to insure against the costs of snow removal," says Bautista. "But I haven't seen them in quite a while."

特种保险公司AXIS Capital天气和大宗商品市场联合负责人埃德加•包蒂斯塔表示,两年来,他一直没有买卖过和降雪有关的合约。他说:“以前我发现一些市政府对此很感兴趣,他们希望避免积雪清理费用带来的不利影响。但我已经很长时间没有见过他们了。”

In theory, the market for snow-related weather derivatives should be huge. Snowstorms can affect lots of businesses. And often you hear about billions of dollars in economic damage from blizzards. Typically, the contracts are priced based on the expected inches of snow in a particular time period in a given city. If accumulation is greater than the set amount, the seller of the derivative has to pay out. But if the snowfall is less than that figure, the contract will expire worthless. Along the way, the contract can rise and fall in price.

从理论上讲,和降雪有关的天气衍生产品市场的规模应该非常庞大。暴风雪会对许多公司产生影响。人们也经常听到暴风雪造成数十亿美元经济损失的消息。通常,这种合约的定价基础是某个城市在某段时间内的预期降雪量。如果实际降雪量超过了合约设定的水平,合约卖方就必须支付差价。但如果降雪量未达到设定的水平,合约到期时就将一文不值。在这个过程中,合约价格可能上升或下跌。

CWE's Hodgson says most contracts are sold by early November and run through March. Late last year, you could have bought a snow contract for $30,000 that would have paid out $100,000 if it snowed more than 50 inches in New York City. New York's snowfall, even including the most recent storm, as measured at LaGuardia Airport, has been 14 inches. So that contract still looks like a long shot.

霍奇森指出,大多数这样的合约都在11月初到次年3月份之间卖出。去年底,如果你买了一张价值3万美元的降雪期货合约,在纽约市降雪量超过50英寸的情况下,你将获利10万美元。而根据拉瓜迪亚(LaGuardia)机场的测量结果,即使包括最近的暴风雪,纽约的降雪量也只有14英寸。也就是说,这份合约对降雪量的估计显然过高。

The lack of interest can be partly chalked up to the fact that, up until this week, there has been a lack of snow. It turns out there are many more companies that want to protect themselves against too much snow than too little. Large ski mountains, perhaps because they pre-sell season tickets, never took an interest in the market. Vail Resorts (MTN), for instance, a public company that owns its namesake mountain as well as a number of others, says it doesn't use weather derivatives to mitigate losses when snow is light.

直到本周,美国依然降雪稀少,这可能是人们对降雪期货合约兴味索然的原因之一。实际情况表明,希望防范降雪过多风险的公司远远多于希望免受降雪过少影响的公司。设在山间的大型滑雪场对这个市场一直不感兴趣,原因可能是它们一直在预售季票。比如,拥有威尔山等山峰的上市公司Vail Resorts表示,它并没有通过天气衍生产品来减轻降雪量少所带来的损失。

Wall Street made a killing in the winter of 2011-12, which saw a record lack of snow across the U.S. Since then, buyers of the contracts, who lost money on the insurance, have failed to come back.

2011年冬天,美国各地的降雪量都处于历史最低点,华尔街借此大赚了一笔。此后,蒙受了损失的合约买方就再也没有出现过。

In general, the markets for more esoteric derivatives have dried up since the financial crisis. That could be hurting demand for weather contracts as well. Also, given the effects of climate change, the number of people expecting record snowfalls is rapidly shrinking.

总的来说,金融危机爆发至今,较难琢磨的衍生产品市场都已经枯竭。这也可能给天气期货合约的需求带来了不利影响。同时,在气候变化的作用下,预计降雪量将突破历史纪录的人数正在迅速减少。

It's probably too late for this year. Still, snowstorms like the one that hit the East Coast on Friday give Wall Street hope.

今年的降雪量要创下新高可能已经来不及。但美国东海岸周五遭到暴风雪袭击,让华尔街又看到了希望。

Hodgson says there is still an active market in over-the-counter snow contracts specifically tailored to a single company. But the market tends to be dominated by specialty firms, not big banks, and it tends to behave more like insurance rather than a financial contract. Hodgson says he thinks the lack of a good index for the market, like the S&P 500 (SPX) for stocks, has made weather derivatives hard to trade.

霍奇森说,专门为某家公司量身定制的降雪期货合约的柜台交易依然活跃。但主导这个柜台交易市场的往往是专业公司,而不是大型投行;这种合约也表现得更像保险产品,而非金融合约。霍奇森认为,这个市场缺少一个好的指数,这个指数的作用就像标普500指数(S&P 500)之于股市。在这种情况下,天气衍生产品很难进行交易。

eWeatherRisk CEO Brian Ohearne says his company is trying to develop snow contracts that are based on the number of storms rather than the absolute number of inches. He thinks those contacts will be more popular.
 
天气风险管理解决方案在线供应商eWeatherRisk首席执行官布莱恩•奥赫恩说,他的公司正在开发的降雪期货合约以暴风雪出现的次数为基础,而不是绝对降雪量。他认为这种合约将更受欢迎。(财富中文网)



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