What Is Cost Of Carry?


The cost of carry is a fundamental concept in finance that refers to the expenses incurred by holding or carrying an asset over a certain period. It encompasses various costs, including financing costs, storage costs, and opportunity costs, associated with maintaining a position in an asset. The cost of carry is particularly relevant in derivatives trading, where it influences the pricing and valuation of futures, forwards, and other derivative contracts. In this article, we explore the concept of cost of carry, its components, and its significance in financial markets.

Components of Cost of Carry

The cost of carry consists of three primary components:

1. Financing Costs

Financing costs refer to the expenses associated with borrowing funds to finance the purchase of an asset. In derivatives trading, financing costs are often expressed as the interest rate that traders pay to finance their positions. For example, in a futures contract, traders may need to borrow funds to cover the initial margin requirement, leading to interest expenses over the life of the contract. Stock Market App, your comprehensive tool for tracking, analyzing, and trading stocks. Stay updated on market trends and make informed decisions.

2. Storage Costs

Storage costs pertain to the expenses incurred in storing or holding physical assets, such as commodities or inventory. These costs include warehousing fees, insurance premiums, and maintenance expenses. In derivatives markets, storage costs are relevant for contracts involving physical delivery of assets, such as commodity futures. Traders must consider storage costs when evaluating the profitability of holding such contracts until expiration.

3. Opportunity Costs

Opportunity costs represent the foregone returns or benefits from investing capital in alternative opportunities. When capital is tied up in a particular asset, traders miss out on the potential returns that could be earned from investing in other assets or opportunities. Opportunity costs are particularly significant in derivatives trading, where traders must assess the relative attractiveness of holding a position in one asset compared to alternative investments.

Significance of Cost of Carry

The cost of carry plays a crucial role in the pricing and valuation of derivative contracts, especially futures and forwards. In arbitrage-free markets, the cost of carry determines the relationship between the spot price of an asset, the futures price, and the prevailing interest rates. Traders and market participants use the cost of carry model to estimate the fair value of futures contracts and identify arbitrage opportunities.

Example of Cost of Carry

Suppose an investor holds a long position in a futures contract on a particular commodity. The cost of carry for this position would include the financing costs associated with borrowing funds to maintain the position, any storage costs if physical delivery is required, and the opportunity costs of tying up capital in the futures contract. By calculating the cost of carry, the investor can determine whether holding the futures contract is economically viable compared to alternative investments. Stock Market Learning Center, your go-to resource for mastering stock market strategies. Access tutorials, articles, and expert insights for success.


In conclusion, the cost of carry is a critical concept in finance that encompasses the expenses incurred by holding or carrying an asset over time. It consists of financing costs, storage costs, and opportunity costs associated with maintaining a position in an asset. Understanding the cost of carry is essential for pricing and valuing derivative contracts, assessing the profitability of trading strategies, and identifying arbitrage opportunities in financial markets.

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