What is a 'Short Hedge'

A short hedge is an investment strategy that is focused on mitigating a risk that has already been taken. The "short" portion of the term refers to the act of shorting a security, usually a derivatives contract, that hedges against potential losses in an investment that is held long.

If a short hedge is executed well, gains from the long position will be offset by losses in the derivatives position, and vice versa.

BREAKING DOWN 'Short Hedge'

A common risk in short hedging is basis risk, or the risk that price levels will not change much over the period the hedge is in place; in this scenario, the asset held in the long position would not gain any value, and the short hedge would lose value.

Short hedging is often seen in the agriculture business, as producers are often willing to pay a small premium to lock in a preferred rate of sale in the future. Also, short hedges involving interest rates are common among institutional money managers that hold large amounts of fixed income securities and are concerned about reinvestment risk in the future.

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