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I'm currently studying the pricing of the exchange option.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margrabe%27s_formula

While I can appreciate the theory, who actually buys these options in practice? Are they standardised and traded on any exchanges (I would guess not)

Who sells these options? My obvious guess is investment banks would tailor this contract for a client if they client wanted a large exposure that somehow reflected the exchange option spread payoff.

But why would someone want to pay a lot of money (presumably the impllied vol would be high) to own this option, when maybe it could be approximated by owning vanilla puts and calls in various combinations instead.

TL;DR nice theoretical formula, but are these options ever traded in practice in any material way, or are they just the tools of academics in ivory towers?

NB: this option is difficult to search for in google ("exchange option" obviously extremely broad, spread option/Margrabe gives so many hits on academic pricing references)

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  • $\begingroup$ Of theoretical interest only AFAIK, they do not really trade. $\endgroup$ – noob2 Dec 20 '18 at 15:02
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    $\begingroup$ The framework / concept has utility when tackling other (real) pricing problems but no one has ever rung the desk asking for a Margrabe option... $\endgroup$ – James Spencer-Lavan Dec 21 '18 at 6:11
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Yes, you can say they are traded on listed options, but only for a few limited markets, and not that liquid relative to options on a single asset.

For instance, the commodity futures space, there are options on commodity spreads listed, and a strike of 0 would be the same as an exchange option.

These options have some liquidity in energy and grain markets, but not everywhere. In the energy space, options on both related markets like WTI-Brent, and on calendar spreads have had listed spread options. In the grain markets, like Corn or Soybean, it’s usually only the calendar spreads (exchanging one maturity with another) that are traded.

Typically only 2-3 strikes would be liquid in these exchange listed spread options, of which the strike of 0 , which would be the exchange option, is usually one of them.

See these links as an example:

corn spread options

crude WTI-Brent options

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  • $\begingroup$ This is great. Had no idea. Thanks $\endgroup$ – ChilliProject Dec 23 '18 at 23:05

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