Today, though, there are still only six widely traded types of futures. They are, ranked by annual contract volume:

  1. Interest rates,
  2. Petroleum products,
  3. Stock indices,
  4. Currencies,
  5. Metals and
  6. Agricultural products.

The important exchanges, along with their main products, are:

Chicago Board of Trade (part of the CME)
Corn, soybean, soybean oil, soybean meal, wheat, oats, ethanol, rough rice

Interest rate
30-year Treasury bonds, 10-year T-notes, 5-year T-notes, 2-year T-notes, 10-year swaps, 5-year swaps, 30-day Fed Funds

Dow, Dow AIG Index

Gold, silver
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)
S&P 500, Nasdaq

Interest rate
Eurodollar, Euroyen, swaps

Dollar-denominated, euro-denominated

Dairy, cattle, pork, lumber, fertilizer

Weather, housing
New York Mercantile Exchange (NYM, part of the CME)
Crude oil, natural gas, gasoline, heating oil

Gold, silver, copper
NYSE Liffe
$/¬, Rapeseed, Robusta coffee
Kansas City Board of Trade

Value Line
Minneapolis Grain Exchange
Wheat, corn, soybean
New York Board of Trade
Cocoa, coffee, cotton, ethanol, orange juice, wood pulp, sugar,

Dollar-denominated, euro-denominated, cross-currency

Russell indices, NYSE Composite, commodities indices, Dollar index

The Chicago Board Options Exchange initiated a subsidiary called the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) in 2004. In addition, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange is, as of this writing, preparing to launch a futures bourse to be known as the Philadelphia Board of Trade. This venue is presently better known for trading options and funds.

Internationally, Euronext.liffe trades interest rate futures in London. Two other U.K.-based bourses, the London Metal Exchange and the London Commodity Exchange, trade precious metals and agricultural products, respectively. Petroleum futures markets are made at the ICE Futures Exchange which, although headquartered in Atlanta, is regulated under British auspices and has offices worldwide. The Tokyo Commodity Exchange is also active in a broad range of markets. Exchanges in India, South Africa and Hungary are among the fastest growing.

Even so, almost half the world's futures volume is still traded in the U.S. CME, alone, accounts for one-third of world volume in futures contracts.

The Futures Contract

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