Silver Options Trader Bets $1 Million on Price Drop by July

April 11 (Bloomberg) -- A trader’s almost $1 million bet that an exchange-traded fund tracking silver will decline by July was today’s biggest single options trade on U.S. exchanges as futures on the metal reached a 31-year high.

The 100,000 puts, or options to sell 100 shares each of the iShares Silver Trust at $25 by July, changed hands at the ask price of about 10 cents and exceeded the open interest of 6,054 outstanding contracts before today, indicating that a buyer of a new bearish position initiated the transaction. The ETF rose to $40.33, the highest intraday level since trading began five years ago, before falling 1.6 percent to $39.21 at 4 p.m. New York time. It hasn’t closed below $25 since November.

“It’s definitely a massive downside bet on silver,” said Henry Schwartz, president of Trade Alert LLC, a New York-based provider of options-market data and analytics. “It’s so far out of the money that the buyer is probably just looking for a moderate pullback because a $3 retracement to where it was in March could double the position to $2 million.”

Silver for May delivery in New York climbed as much as 3.4 percent to $41.975 an ounce, the highest level since January 1980, when futures reached a record $50.35. It last traded at $40.61. Silver, where half of global consumption is industrial, has been rising because it benefits from a rebounding global economy as well as demand for a haven, according to UBS AG.

The trade accounted for almost a quarter of the 385,667 silver ETF puts changing hands today, the most since November and five times the four-week average. About 1.2 puts traded for each call.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Kearns in New York at jkearns3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Baker at nbaker7@bloomberg.net.