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What is a 'Futures Exchange'

A futures exchange, traditionally, is a term referring to a central marketplace where futures contracts and options on futures contracts are traded. More recently, with the growth in electronic trading, it is also used to describe the activity of futures trading itself.

BREAKING DOWN 'Futures Exchange'

The largest futures exchange in the U.S., the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, was formed in the late 1890s when the only futures contracts offered were for agricultural products. The 1970s saw the emergence of currency futures in major currencies. Today's futures exchanges are significantly larger, with hedging of financial instruments via futures comprising the majority of the futures market activity. Futures exchanges play an important role in the operation of the global financial system.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What types of futures contracts are typically sold on an exchange?

    Explore the wide variety of available futures contracts traded on exchanges, which range from agricultural commodities to ... Read Answer >>
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    Learn what items futures may be purchased for, what a futures contract is and discover how the futures markets have greatly ... Read Answer >>
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    Every morning before North American stock exchanges begin trading, TV programs and websites providing financial information ... Read Answer >>
  4. What is the history of futures?

    Explore the history of futures trading and the origin of the major commodity futures trading exchanges in England and the ... Read Answer >>
  5. How can I calculate the notional value of a futures contract?

    Learn how the notional value of a futures contract is calculated, and how futures are different from stock since they have ... Read Answer >>
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