Futures markets and the futures contract

Futures markets, in their most basic form, are markets in which commodities (or financial products) to be delivered or purchased at some time in the future are bought and sold.

The futures contract is the basic unit of exchange in the futures markets. Each contract is for a set quantity of some commodity or financial asset and can be traded only in multiples of that amount. The futures contract is a legally binding agreement that provides for the delivery of various commodities or financial entities at a specific time period in the future. (Prior to the time I was in this business, I envisioned the parties sitting at a table and actually signing paper contracts. It's nothing like that.)

When you buy or ...

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