178 Scopus citations


We survey theoretical and computational problems associated with the pricing and hedging of spread options. These options are ubiquitous in the financial markets, whether they be equity, fixed income, foreign exchange, commodities, or energy markets. As a matter of introduction, we present a general overview of the common features of all spread options by discussing in detail their roles as speculation devices and risk management tools. We describe the mathematical framework used to model them, and we review the numerical algorithms actually used to price and hedge them. There is already extensive literature on the pricing of spread options in the equity and fixed income markets, and our contribution is mostly to put together material scattered across a wide spectrum of recent textbooks and journal articles. On the other hand, information about the various numerical procedures that can be used to price and hedge spread options on physical commodities is more difficult to find. For this reason, we make a systematic effort to choose examples from the energy markets in order to illustrate the numerical challenges associated with these instruments. This gives us a chance to discuss an interesting application of spread options to an asset valuation problem after it is recast in the framework of real options. This approach is currently the object of intense mathematical research. In this spirit, we review the two major avenues to modeling energy price dynamics. We explain how the pricing and hedging algorithms can be implemented in the framework of models for both the spot price dynamics and the forward curve dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)627-685
Number of pages59
JournalSIAM Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


  • Closed form approximations
  • Derivative pricing theory
  • Energy markets
  • Spread options


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