During the past year, the Aluminum futures contract has demonstrated strong growth and adoption by the broader marketplace. Robust on-screen liquidity, increased volume, and growing open interest is making it increasingly difficult for the trading community to ignore. 

As more attention is drawn towards Aluminum futures, clarifying information can be key to tearing down the barrier to participation.

The physically deliverable Aluminum futures contract is a duty-unpaid contract, with global delivery points.

In July 2019, COMEX expanded its warehousing network to include delivery points in North America, EMEA, and APAC. As of November 2023, warehouses are located in eleven different locations with a total of 26 approved warehouses.

While the contract is duty-unpaid, duty-paid metal may also be delivered against the contract.

Current warehouse locations (as of November 2023):

  • U.S. – Owensboro, KY; New Orleans, LA; Toledo, OH
  • EMEA – Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Bilboa, Spain; Antwerp, Belgium
  • APAC – Johor, Malaysia; Port Klang, Malaysia; Singapore; Gwangyang, Republic of Korea; Busan, Republic of Korea

Aluminum futures are quoted in USD per metric ton ($/MT).

The legacy Copper futures contract, by contrast, is quoted in USD per pound ($/LB). Additionally, Copper futures is a duty-paid contract with warehouse locations only in North America.

Having another Aluminum futures contract can be beneficial to the overall market.

As aluminum specifications widely match those of competing exchanges, pricing in the market will also closely correlate with other international reference prices. However, the correlation is not perfect, opening arbitrage opportunities and relative value trades between instruments listed on different exchanges and delivered in different locations.  Other commodity markets have greatly benefited from having liquid futures contracts listed at various exchanges.

  • Aluminum futures operate on a monthly futures structure, with contracts settling on the third last business day of the month, similar to Copper futures.
  • Futures contract size for Aluminum is 25 metric tons.
  • Load out requirements (2% of total inventory with a minimum of 1,000MT by primary conveyance) are by individual warehouse.
  • Preference for load out is given to cancelled warrants (futures first) – ensuring warehouse load out obligation is being met with metal from exchange related activity.
  • Warehouses are required to report daily inventory of all metal in store; a daily stock report is published by the Exchange by location and indicates the level of both eligible and registered inventory and the movement into and out of each location.
  • All warehouses approved for delivery of aluminum must have designated indoor, outdoor, or both indoor and outdoor storage space.

COMEX does not generate any revenue from Exchange approved warehouses.

On-screen liquidity is robust, deep, and transparent.

Trading in Aluminum futures is available on-screen through CME Globex or through the brokered block market and cleared via CME Clearport, giving participants multiple venues at which to execute trades.

The continuously improving liquidity and on-screen transparency is reflected through increased average daily volume (ADV) and open interest (OI), which has reached record high levels in 2023. Monthly ADV set an all-time high of over 6,100 contracts in September 2023, followed closely by near 6k contracts per day in October 2023.  All of the top ten volume days have occurred in 2H 2023, with more than 10k Aluminum futures contracts traded on nine different trading days, including a record 14,661 contracts traded on November 3, 2023. 

Aluminum OI reached a record 5,396 contracts on November 3, 2023, an increase of over 307%, YoY.

Liquidity in the ALI contract transitions with predictability.

The Aluminum active month, or lead month, is the anchor month for settlements and will be the third chronological month. However, on the fifteenth of the current calendar month, the active month becomes the fourth chronological month and remains the fourth chronological month until expiry of the current calendar month.

On and between these dates …

…the active/lead contract month is…

Apr 17 ’23-May 12 ‘23


May 15 ’23-Jun 14 ‘23


Jun 15 ’23-Jul 14 ‘23


Jul 17 ’23-Aug 14 ‘23


Aug 15 ’23-Sep 14 ‘23


Sep 15 ’23-Oct 13 ‘23


Oct 16 ’23-Nov 14 ‘23


Nov 15 ’23-Dec 14 ‘23


Dec 15 ’23-Jan 12 ‘24


Jan 16 ’24-Feb 14 ‘24


Feb 15 ’24-Mar 14 ‘24


Mar 15 ’24-Apr 12 ‘24


Apr 15 ’24-May 14 ‘24


May 15 ’24-Jun 14 ‘24


Jun 17 ’24-Jul 12 ‘24


Jul 15 ’24-Aug 14 ‘24


Aug 15 ’24-Sep 13 ‘24


Sep 16 ’24-Oct 14 ‘24


Oct 15 ’24-Nov 14 ‘24


Nov 15 ’24-Dec 13 ‘24


Dec 16 ’24-Jan 14 ‘25


Jan 15 ’25-Feb 14 ‘25


Feb 18 ’25-Mar 14 ‘25


Strict position limits in Aluminum futures only apply to the spot month. Aluminum futures has position accountability for any single month, or all months combined.

Position limits in Aluminum futures are categorized as Spot Month Position Limits and Position Accountability Levels.

Spot Month Position Limits in Aluminum futures are levels which a market participant may not exceed unless they have an approved exemption. Any positions in excess of these limits would be considered a rule violation pursuant to Rule 562.

Position Accountability Levels are levels which a market participant may exceed and not be in violation of an Exchange Rule. A market participant who exceeds an accountability level may be asked by the Market Regulation Department to provide information relating to the position. This information includes, but is not limited to, the nature and size of the position, the trading strategy employed with respect to the position, and hedging information (if applicable). A market participant in excess of accountability levels may be ordered to not further increase positions, comply with a limit set by the Market Regulation department, or reduce any position in excess of the accountability rule.

For further information, see the Position Limit Market Regulation Advisory Notice.


Misunderstood information can deter entry into a market, however, gaining knowledge of this information allows for confident participation. Increasing volume, growing open interest, multiple venues for execution with deep, transparent markets, and a global warehousing network with rules in place to limit the possibility of queues makes Aluminum futures a viable, tradable futures contract.


Aluminum Futures

Commodity Code


Contract Size

25 metric tons

Price Quotation

U.S. dollars and cents per metric ton

Minimum Price Fluctuation

$0.25 per metric ton

Contract Listings

60 consecutive months

Trading Hours

6:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. New York time. Sunday - Friday

Termination of Trading

Third last business day of the contract month

Settlement Type


Settlement Procedures

Settlement Procedures

Position Limits

Position Limits

Delivery Period

Delivery may take place on any business day beginning on the first business day of the delivery month or any subsequent business day of the delivery month, but not later than the last business day of the current delivery month.

Aluminum futures contract specs - CME Group

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All examples in this report are hypothetical interpretations of situations and are used for explanation purposes only. The views in this report reflect solely those of the author and not necessarily those of CME Group or its affiliated institutions. This report and the information herein should not be considered investment advice or the results of actual market experience.

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