What Is the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT)?

Founded in 1870, the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) is a commodity futures exchange located in New York. In 2006, it became part of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

For much of its history, the NYBOT facilitated commodities trading using human traders in large trading floors, or "pits." Today, the vast majority of this trading is conducted through computers.

Key Takeaways

  • The New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) is a commodity futures exchange that today forms part of the ICE since 2006.
  • NYBOT previously specialized in physical commodities such as sugar and coffee, but has become all-electronic since incorporation into the ICE.
  • The NYBOT is one of the oldest asset exchanges in the U.S., dating back to 1870.

Understanding the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT)

The NYBOT is focused on physical commodities such as coffee, cotton, and cocoa. By allowing these commodities to be traded indirectly using futures contracts, institutions such as the NYBOT allow the producers and buyers of these commodities to lock in prices ahead of time in order to protect against unforeseen volatility or production shortages.

With standardized futures contracts, companies dependent on these commodities can buy them at predetermined prices for later delivery weeks, months, or even years in the future. In doing so, they can be more certain of the cost of their raw materials, regardless of how the spot prices of those commodities may fluctuate in the interim period. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) plays a similar role, facilitating futures trading in commodities such as livestock, metals, and crude oil.

When the NYBOT was founded in 1870, trading was conducted exclusively by humans, often working on large and loud trading floors. In 1997, the NYBOT acquired the Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa Exchange (CSCE), increasing their foothold in the commodity trading marketplace. This combined entity was then purchased by the ICE in 2006.

Real World Example of the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT)

A few years after the ICE acquired the NYBOT, the traditional trading floors were closed off so that all trades would be executed electronically. Today, the ICE operates as an entirely electronic exchange, enabling near-instant transactions among market participants throughout the world. 

This move toward digitization has also corresponded with a vast increase in the size of the commodities trading markets themselves. As its name suggests, the ICE is a truly international marketplace in which traders can transact in commodities ranging from electricity and jet fuel to derivative products based on interest rates, currency values, and various other underlying assets.