Agricultural Commodity Futures Contract Specifications
This guide is intended to provide you with information regarding contact information for commodity exchange markets and contract specification information for selected agricultural commodities common to Missouri. It is important that you have a clear understanding of the operation of the exchange market and know exactly the specifications of the commodity contract you are about to enter into.
Agricultural Exchange Information
Commodity exchanges have extensive resources from which to obtain information. For instance, the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange have numerous free publications that explain topics ranging from the duties of a floor trader to understanding and using basis information. Additionally, Internet access has made this information more accessible to the general public, and it is highly suggested that persons visit the various commodity exchange Internet sites for additional information or call their offices.
Additionally, there are two primary regulatory bodies overseeing futures/options trading. These entities are the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and National Futures Association (NFA). The contact information is listed below.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)
30 S. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, IL 60606
Fax: (312) 466-4410
Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
LaSalle at Jackson (141 W. Jackson)
Chicago, IL 60604
Fax: (312) 341-3168
MidAmerica Commodity Exchange (MACE)
141 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 341-3392, (800) 572-3276
Marketing (312) 435-7239
New York Mercantile Exchange
NYMEX Division (NYM) & COMEX
3 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10048
Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT)
4800 Main St. Suite 303
Kansas City, MO 64112
(800) 821-5228, (816) 753-7500
Fax: (816) 753-3944
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
3 Lafayette Centre,
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581
Fax: (202) 418-5525
National Futures Association (NFA)
200 W. Madison St., Ste. 1600
Chicago, IL 60606-3447
(312) 781-1300, (800) 621-3570
(800) 572-9400 IL
Fax: (321) 781-1467
Contract Specifications for Selected Agricultural Commodities
Each agricultural commodity contract has specifications unique to that commodity. For instance, Chicago Mercantile Exchange feeder and live cattle futures/options contracts have weight specifications of 50,000 lbs. and 40,000 lbs., respectively. These weights approximate the weight of a semi load of feeder and live cattle. Additionally, each commodity contract price quote is expressed differently, and changes in the price quote differ by commodity. The contract specification information listed below is intended to help producers and agribusinesses better understand futures/options contract specifications.
Various commodities are traded at more than one commodity exchange. For example, corn is traded at the Chicago Board of Trade and MidAmerica Commodity Exchange. The difference in these contracts is that the Chicago Board of Trade contract is for 5,000 bushels of corn per contract and the MidAmerica Commodity Exchange contract is for 1,000 bushels. You should be aware of the difference in trading volume between these markets. Lack of adequate trading volume can cause difficulty when entering or exiting the market; however, mini-contracts can be useful to those lacking finances or the production quantity necessary to purchase or sell a full contract.
Column heading definitions are offered here. The Futures column heading represents the commodity being traded. The Exchange column heading represents the commodity exchange where the listed commodity is traded. Contract Size refers to the size of the contract being traded. Trading Hours refers to the hours of trading of that specific commodity at the given commodity exchange. Minimum Fluctuation refers to the change in overall value of the contract from a unit movement in the price quoted (for instance, if the CBOT corn price increase by 1/4 cent, the contract increases in value by $12.50). Daily Limit refers to the maximum allowable change in price allowed for the specific commodity on a given day (note, the daily limit may be waived during the expiration month).
|Futures||Exchange||Contract Size||Trading Hours||Minimum Fluctuation||Daily Limit|
|Chedder Chs.||CME||40,000 lbs.||8:00-13:10||2.5¢/cwt.=$10.00||2.5¢/lb.=$1,000*|
|BFP Milk||CME||200,000 lbs.||8:00-13:10||0.1¢/lb.=$200.00||1.5¢/lb.=$3000*|
|Anhydrous Ammonia||CBT||100 tons||9:05-12:20||10¢/ton=$10.00||$10/ton= $1,000*|
|Corn||CBT||5,000 bu.||9:30-13:15||1/4¢/bu.= $12.50||12¢/bu. = $600*|
|Corn||MACE||1,000 bu.||9:30-13:45||1/8¢/bu.= $1.25||10¢/bu..= $100*|
|Oats||CBT||5,000 bu.||9:30-13:15||1/4¢/bu.= $12.50||10¢/bu.= $500*|
|Oats||MACE||1,000 bu.||9:30-13:45||1/8¢/bu.= $1.25||10¢/bu.=$100*|
|Rice Rough||CBT||2,000 cwt.||9:15-13:30||.5¢/cwt.=$10.00||30¢/bu.= $600*|
|Soybeans||CBT||5,000 bu.||9:30-13:15||1/4¢/bu.=$12.50||30¢/bu.= $1500*|
|Soybeans||MACE||1,000 bu.||9:30-13:45||1/8¢/bu.= $1.25||30¢/bu.= $300*|
|Soybean Meal||CBT||10 tons||9:30-13:15||10¢/ton = $1.00||$10/ton = $1,00*|
|Soybean Meal||MACE||50 tons||9:30-13:45||10¢/ton = $5.00||$10/ton = $500*|
|Soybean Oil||CBT||60,000 lbs||9:30-13:15||0.01¢/lb.= $6.00||1¢/lb.= $600*|
|Soybean Oil||MACE||30,000 lbs.||9:30-13:45||0.01¢/lb.= $3.00||1¢/lb.= $300*|
|Wheat||CBT||5,000 bu.||9:30-13:15||1/4¢/bu.= $12.50||20¢/bu.= $1000*|
|Wheat||KCBT||5,000 bu.||9:30-13:15||1/4¢/bu.= $12.50||25¢/bu.=$1,250*|
|Wheat||MACE||1,000 bu.||9:30-13:45||1/8¢/bu.= $1.25||20¢/bu.= $200*|
|Feeder Cattle||CME||50,000 lbs.||9:05-13:00||2.5¢/cwt.=$12.50||1.5¢/lb.=$750|
|Live Cattle||CME||40,000 lbs.||9:05-13:00||2.5¢/cwt.=$10.00||1.5¢/lb.=$600|
|Boneless Beef||CME||20,000 lbs.||8:50-13:00||1/.1¢/lb.=$20.00||3.0¢/lb.=$600|
|Boneless Beef Trimmings||CME||20,000 lbs.||8:50-13:00||.1¢/lb.=$20.00||3.0¢/lb.=$600|
|Stocker Cattle||CME||25,000 lbs.||9:10-13:05||0.05¢/lb.=$12.50||2.0¢/lb.=$500|
|Lean Hogs||CME||40,000 lbs.||9:10-13:00||2.5¢/cwt.=$10.00||2.0¢/lb.=$800|
|Lean Hogs||MACE||20,000 lbs.||9:10-13:15||0.025¢/lb.=$5.00||1.5¢/lb.=$300|
|Pork Bellies||CME||40,000 lbs.||9:10-13:00||2.5¢/cwt.=$10.00||3¢/lb.=$1200|
|Note: * denotes that trading limits may change during different periods of the contract life.|
|Note: Many of these commodities have options markets that are traded based on similar contract specifications.|
Deliverable versus Cash Settled Commodities
Two classes of agricultural commodities typically referred to in trading agricultural commodities are deliverable and cash settled commodities. Deliverable commodities refer to those commodities that the short position (seller) has the right, but not the obligation, to make delivery to a pre-specified location for which the long position (buyer) has the obligation to take delivery. For instance, corn is a deliverable commodity. A seller (short) could make delivery at one of the specified delivery locations and the buyer (long) would have to take delivery of the corn at that location. Other deliverable commodities include wheat, soybeans, live cattle, and pork bellies.
Cash settled commodities are those commodities for which a cash settlement can be made at the end of the trading period. For instance, feeder cattle are a cash traded commodity. If Joe Bob held his short position until expiration, he would not have the right to make delivery. Instead, Joe Bob would cash settle his short position, much like offsetting his contract by buying. You should be aware of the settlement terms of the commodity you are trading.
For more Information contact:
|Joe Parcell||Vern Pierce|
|Extension Economist||Beef Economist, Commercial Agriculture Program|
|223E Mumford Hall||223D Mumford Hall|
|University of Missouri||University of Missouri|
|Columbia, MO 65211||Columbia, MO 65211|
|Ph. (573) 882-0870||Ph. (573) 882-8229|
|Fax: (573) 884-6572||Fax: (573) 884-6572|