What is a Synthetic Futures Contract?

A synthetic futures contract comprises call options accompanied by put options in order to imitate the attributes of a futures contract.

How Does a Synthetic Futures Contract Work?

A synthetic long futures contract can be simulated using a short put option in conjunction with a long call option. Conversely, a synthetic short futures contract can be replicated by placing a long put option accompanied by a short call. In order to be effective, the strike price and expiration date must be identical. For instance, a synthetic long futures contract on stock XYZ would comprise a put option and a call option as described, both of which would have the same expiration date of (e.g. 31 December 2009) and strike price (e.g. $75).

Why Does a Synthetic Futures Contract Matter?

A synthetic futures contract allows an investor to benefit from the attributes and manner of payment of a futures contract without taking on the risks and obligations which a futures contract comprises.