What is a 'Long Hedge'
A long hedge is a situation where an investor has to take a long position in futures contracts in order to hedge against future price volatility. A long hedge is beneficial for a company that knows it has to purchase an asset in the future and wants to lock in the purchase price. A long hedge can also be used to hedge against a short position that has already been taken by the investor.
BREAKING DOWN 'Long Hedge'
For example, assume it is January and an aluminum manufacturer needs 25,000 pounds of copper to manufacture aluminum and fulfill a contract in May. The current spot price is $1.50 per pound, but the May futures price is $1.40 per pound. In January the aluminum manufacturer would take a long position in 1 May futures contract on copper. This locks in the price the manufacturer will pay.
If in May the spot price of copper is $1.45 per pound the manufacturer has benefited from taking the long position, because the hedger is actually paying $0.05/pound of copper compared to the current market price. However if the price of copper was anywhere below $1.40 per pound the manufacturer would be in a worse position than where they would have been if they did not enter into the futures contract.