Why Trade Futures?

CME Group is where the world comes to manage risk. Built on more than 165 years of global benchmark futures and options, we provide you with the opportunity you need to mitigate risk and grow profitability.

Futures offer a fast, cost-effective way to trade financial and commodity markets. They are standardized contracts to buy or sell a particular asset at a set price, on a set date in the future, in predefined quantity and quality. Traders worldwide use futures to easily reduce risk or seek profits on changing markets.

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Benefits of Trading Futures

24-Hour Access
Trade nearly 24 hours/6 days a week when other markets are closed

Deep Liquidity
More participation in a market means tighter pricing, lower costs and tremendously efficient trading 

See the same prices, quotes and trades as all other participants, fostering true price discovery

Control a large contract value with a relatively small margin, giving more power to your capital

CME Group is home to several global benchmarks used to set prices worldwide

Ease of Going

Go short as easily as you go long, many times a day

How Do Futures Compare?

Futures offer many advantages over other popular ways of trading. Compare them side-by-side to see if futures are right for you.

Compare Futures vs. ETFs




Annual Management Fees



Potential Cost Efficiencies*

Yes - Can have significantly lower fees

Depends - Time horizon, direction & holding costs will impact

Nearly 24-Hour Access,
6 days a Week



Deep Liquidity


Yes - But core futures can trade many times more notionally per day

Pure Price Exposure
to Underlying

Yes - Designed to tightly track underlying

No - Funding levels, fees, other factors can affect price

 Can Go to Delivery

Yes - But only a small percentage take delivery


Offers Portfolio Diversification



Tax Efficiencies**

Yes - Blended 60% long term, 40% short-term U.S. capital gains treatment

No - Could trigger relatively expensive short-term capital gains tax


No - Only access value of commodity

Yes - You own until you sell again

* Depends on your time horizon, direction and holding costs

**Depends on holding period and time horizon. The information provided should not be considered tax advice. Consult your tax advisor before making any investment

Compare Futures vs. Forwards




Regulated, Centralized Market

Yes No

Standardized Contracts

Yes - Quantity, quality, date

No - Privately negotiated

Level-Playing Field

Yes - See same quotes, trades, prices

No - Not transparent

Safety & Security

Yes - Centrally cleared

No - Bilateral counterparty risk

Compare Futures vs. Physical Commodities



Physical Commodities

Regulated, Centralized Market

Yes - CFTC regulated; centralized trades

No - Independent brokers; often unregulated

Nearly 24-Hour Trading, 6 Days a Week


No, in many cases

Transparent Market

Yes - See same prices, quotes, trades

No, in many cases

Subject to Storage Costs

No Yes

Cost Efficiency

Yes - Control a large value on margin

No - Full price paid

Favorable U.S. Tax Treatment*

Yes - Blended 60% long term /40% short term capital gains treatment

No - Ordinary income tax if held ≥ 1 year


No - Trading on  value only


*The information provided should not be considered tax advice. Consult your tax advisor before making any investment

Compare FX Futures vs. Cash FX



Cash FX

Liquidity & 24-Hour Access

Yes - $85B daily

Yes - $5.3T daily but highly fragmented globally

Regulated, Centralized Market

Yes - World’s largest regulated for FX

No - Face counterparty & execution risk

Level-Playing Field

Yes - See same prices, quotes, trade firm liquidity

No - Little to no transparency, last look commonly used

Fully Disclosed Fees

Yes - Plus known, universal margin requirements

No - Spreads often built into prices, varying margin/credit charges subject to counterparty

Safety & Security

Yes -Trades regulated, centrally cleared


Speed & Performance

Yes - Fast trade executions, confirmations & straight-through processing  

Depends - Speed bumps, last-look, re-quoting execution delays common

About CME Group

15.6M Average Daily Volume*

Our markets are traded by a diverse set of customers to bring you the liquidity you need to manage risk or express your opinion on the markets

*Data as of Q4 2018

6 Major Asset Classes

Trade futures and options on Interest Rates, Equity Indices, Energy, Agricultural commodities, FX and Metals.

167 Years of Innovation

CME Group has grown from a floor-based agricultural business to the leading electronic derivatives marketplace

4 Exchanges, 1 Marketplace

Through our CME, CBOT, NYMEX and COMEX, CME Group offers the widest range of global benchmark products from one central trading venue.

Trade Across All Major Markets

  • Agricultural Commodities

    World’s leading benchmarks, including Black Sea Wheat & Corn, Soybeans and Cattle

  • Energy

    Home of WTI, the world’s crude oil benchmark, as well as RBOB Gasoline, Henry Hub and European Gas

  • Metals

    Home of the global metals markets for Gold, Silver, Platinum, Copper and Aluminum

  • FX

    All the major currencies you want to trade, including EUR, JPY, GBP, CAD, AUD and CHF in listed and cleared OTC

  • Interest Rates

    World’s leading derivatives on U.S. Treasuries, Eurodollars, SOFR & SONIA, plus cleared OTC

  • Equity Index

    Key equity index benchmarks on S&P 500, Russell 2000, Nasdaq-100, TOPIX and Bitcoin

How We Ensure Safety & Security

Every trade in our markets is CFTC-regulated, scrutinized and backed by CME Clearing to ensure market integrity. Every trade also must pass multiple safeguards before, during and after the trade takes place, further reducing risk.

How to Get Started

  1. Set up a futures trading account, with a futures commission merchant (FCM). This could be your bank or securities broker.
    Find a broker.
  2. Talk to you FCM about which account type and memberships may be appropriate for you. Your FCM can execute your trades and provide clearing services for you.
  3. Alternatively, you can access CME Group markets directly via CME Direct.

What's Happening in the Futures Markets?

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