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Air industry mulls jet fuel hedging options

DUBLIN Taking out complex call options or even buying a refinery are some of the measures airlines should consider as they try to combat volatile oil prices, air finance industry experts said. Jet fuel can account for anywhere from between 20 and 50 percent of an airline's operating costs, and predicting oil prices is a headache."No one knows where oil prices will be in six months, let alone 10 years away," James Dempsey, Ryanair (RYA. I) group treasurer, told a conference hosted by Airline Economics on Monday."Oil prices are one of the biggest risk factors in the business."Delta Air Lines (DAL. N) bought its own refinery in 2012 to address the risks from fuel prices. Even though the refinery turned only a small profit for the first time in the third quarter of 2013, over 60 percent of air finance executives polled at the conference on Monday believed this was a good move.

Some airline executives took a more cautious stance to such a suggestion however."We'll keep an eye on how successful they are," Gerry Laderman, senior Vice President for Finance and Treasurer at United Airlines told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference. Mike Corley, the chief executive of Mercatus Energy, an independent energy hedging, trading and risk management advisory firm, said airlines should take a more active approach to hedging fuel costs.

He gave the example of call options, which can be expensive but then protect airlines from rises in fuel prices, whilst also letting them track falls in the oil price."Airlines are very good at mitigating risk across the business but managing commodity price risk is often an area where they fall short," Corley said.

However, some airlines, badly burned from hedging losses in volatile oil markets, have scaled back hedging activities and more may follow. US Airways, which stopped hedging, is in the process of a merger with American Airlines, leading some to question what American's future hedging strategy will be."The U.S. industry right now is interesting," United's Laderman said, pointing to American. "Are they now going to stop hedging?"

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Baml hosts instinct loans charity event tuesday

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is hosting a charity event Tuesday, donating all commissions for transactions made through its electronic loan trading platform, Instinct Loans, to the Food Bank For New York City, according to an e-mail sent to market participants. The Instinct platform allows multiple participants to bid on a specified number of loans during twice daily sessions. The bank held the first 30 minute session June 16. BAML reached its first US$1bn of pure electronic trading volume on August 30, according to the September 19 e-mail to clients. The bank said in a Tuesday e-mail to market participants that 43% of inquiry to the system has resulted in a trade, including phone follow ups to electronically-initiated interest.

There was US$628bn of par, or performing, loan trades in 2015, down from a five-year high of US$647.3bn in 2014, according to Markit data. With the contribution from the charity day, BAML will donate Thanksgiving pantry boxes, with a goal to provide thousands of meals to New York City’s neediest, the bank said in the September 19 e-mail.

“We appreciate our clients' support of Instinct Loans and are proud to support the Food Bank For New York City, which provides food for approximately 64 million free meals a year for New Yorkers in need,” said Brian Callahan, head of electronic initiatives and US par loan trading for global credit and special situations at BAML.

Charity trading days have become more popular, with some banks hosting celebrities and encouraging traders to don costumes.

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