Contract Unit


DEFINITION of 'Contract Unit'

The actual amount of the underlying asset represented by a single futures or derivatives contract. The underlying asset could be anything that is traded on a futures exchange, from agricultural commodities and metals to currencies and interest rates. Since futures contracts are highly standardized, the contract unit will specify the exact amount and specifications of the asset, such as the number of barrels of oil or amount of foreign currency. The contract unit for an options contract is 100 - meaning that every contract is for the purchase or sale of 100 shares.

Also known as trading unit.

BREAKING DOWN 'Contract Unit'

Different futures contracts have different contract units and measurements. For example, a CAD/USD (Canadian dollar/U.S. dollar) futures contract traded on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has a contract size of C$100,000, while an E-mini contract also traded on the CME has a size of C$10,000. A EUR/USD contract on the CME has a size of E$125,000, while a gold futures contract has a size of 100 troy ounces. As a result of these differences in sizes and specifications, there may be considerable variances in the actual dollar value of different futures contracts.

Contract units make it easy for investors to decide on the number of contracts needed to hedge their exposure. For example, a U.S. company that has to pay C$1 million to its Canadian supplier in three months and wishes to hedge its exposure to a rising Canadian dollar, can do so through the purchase of 10 CAD/USD futures contracts.

  1. Cash Settlement

    A settlement method used in certain future and option contracts ...
  2. Basis Grade

    The minimum accepted standard that a deliverable commodity must ...
  3. Cost Of Tender

    The total charges associated with the delivery and certification ...
  4. Basis

    1. The variation between the spot price of a deliverable commodity ...
  5. Cash Price

    The actual amount of money that is exchanged when commodities ...
  6. Cash Commodity

    In futures trading, the cash commodity is delivered for payments. ...
Related Articles
  1. Options & Futures

    Interpreting Volume For The Futures Market

    Learn how to read the volume reports, look at the relation to liquidity and interpret volume using open interest.
  2. Options & Futures

    Options On Futures: A World Of Potential Profit

    There's one simple hurdle in the transition from stock to futures options: learning about product specifications.
  3. Insurance

    Futures Fundamentals

    For those who are new to futures but want a solid understanding of them, this tutorial explains what futures contracts are, how they work and why investors use them.
  4. Markets

    Crude Oil Prices: Comparing Future Price Vs. Current Market Price

    Discover the differences between oil futures market prices and oil spot market prices and what leads to the differences between the two.
  5. Credit & Loans

    Pre-Qualified Vs. Pre-Approved - What's The Difference?

    These terms may sound the same, but they mean very different things for homebuyers.
  6. Options & Futures

    Cyclical Versus Non-Cyclical Stocks

    Investing during an economic downturn simply means changing your focus. Discover the benefits of defensive stocks.
  7. Insurance

    Cashing in Your Life Insurance Policy

    Tough times call for desperate measures, but is raiding your life insurance policy even worth considering?
  8. Fundamental Analysis

    Using Decision Trees In Finance

    A decision tree provides a comprehensive framework to review the alternative scenarios and consequences a decision may lead to.
  9. Options & Futures

    Understanding The Escrow Process

    Learn the 10 steps that lead up to closing the deal on your new home and taking possession.
  10. Options & Futures

    Terrorism's Effects on Wall Street

    Terrorist activity tends to have a negative impact on the markets, but just how much? Find out how to take cover.
  1. Do hedge funds invest in commodities?

    There are several hedge funds that invest in commodities. Many hedge funds have broad macroeconomic strategies and invest ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do hedge funds use equity options?

    With the growth in the size and number of hedge funds over the past decade, the interest in how these funds go about generating ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can mutual funds invest in options and futures?

    Mutual funds invest in not only stocks and fixed-income securities but also options and futures. There exists a separate ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can mutual funds invest in commodities?

    Mutual funds can invest in commodities. In fact, mutual funds may provide a better way for investors to gain exposure to ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How do futures contracts roll over?

    Traders roll over futures contracts to switch from the front month contract that is close to expiration to another contract ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How is the value of a pip determined?

    A pip in foreign exchange trading is a measure of a price movement in a currency pair. "Pip" is an acronym for price interest ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Cyber Monday

    An expression used in online retailing to describe the Monday following U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday is generally ...
  2. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  3. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  4. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
  5. Turkey

    Slang for an investment that yields disappointing results or turns out worse than expected. Failed business deals, securities ...
  6. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
Trading Center