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:

Exchange
Classification
Products
Chicago Board of Trade (part of the CME)
Agricultural
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

Index
Dow, Dow AIG Index

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

Interest rate
Eurodollar, Euroyen, swaps

Currency
Dollar-denominated, euro-denominated

Agricultural
Dairy, cattle, pork, lumber, fertilizer

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

Metal
Gold, silver, copper
NYSE Liffe
Misc.
$/¬, Rapeseed, Robusta coffee
Kansas City Board of Trade
Agricultural
Wheat

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

Currency
Dollar-denominated, euro-denominated, cross-currency

Index
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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