DEFINITION of 'New York Mercantile Exchange - NYMEX'

The world's largest physical commodity futures exchange. Trading is conducted through two divisions: the NYMEX Division, which is home to the energy, platinum and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, where metals like gold, silver and copper and the FTSE 100 index options are traded. The NYMEX uses an outcry trading system during the day and an electronic trading system after hours.

You'll hear the NYMEX referred to as "The Merc".

BREAKING DOWN 'New York Mercantile Exchange - NYMEX'

In 1872, a group of dairy merchants founded "The Butter and Cheese Exchange of New York", and in 1994, the NYMEX merged with the COMEX (commodity exchange). Futures and options on energy and precious metals have become great tools when companies try to manage risk by hedging their positions. The ease with which these instruments are traded is vital to hedging activities and gauging future prices, making the NYMEX a vital part of the trading and hedging worlds.

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