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Types of Futures

Futures are frequently employed in a variety of sectors to protect against price volatility and by speculators looking to profit from price swings. A futures contract gives a buyer or seller the right to buy or sell a certain product at a predetermined price in the future.

There are different types of futures, both in the financial and commodity markets. Stock, index, currency, and interest futures are examples of financial futures. Futures are also available for agricultural products, gold, oil, cotton, oilseed, and other commodities.

Types of Futures Explained

It's crucial to understand the difference between options and futures. American-style options contracts provide the holder with the right (but not the responsibility) to purchase or sell the underlying asset at any time before the expiration date. European options allow you to exercise your right only at expiration but do not require you to do so.

The buyer of a futures contract - on the other hand, is required to take possession of the underlying commodity (or its monetary equivalent) at the expiration date and not sooner. 

A buyer of a futures contract has the option to sell their position before it expires, releasing them from their obligation. Buyers of options and futures contracts gain from a leveraged position closing before the expiration date in this fashion.

Types of Futures

  1. Commodity Futures

Commodities are physical assets that can be bought and sold by investors. Oil, metals, natural gas, food grains, and other commodities are among the most popular commodities for which investors purchase futures contracts. The assets themselves provide the security for such arrangements.

Commodity futures are extremely crucial for managing price risk, particularly for farmers. A farmer or main crop producer might sign a futures contract to sell his produce at a particular price at a specific date in the future. This way, he knows exactly how much he'll be paid for his work. He can be free of the fear of losing money if the price drops in the future.

  1. Currency Futures

Currency futures are contracts based on currency exchange rates. The contracting parties agree on an exchange rate for the exchange of two currencies at a future date. Such contracts can help to eliminate the exchange rate risk that can develop in long-term international trading. Typically, the parties will close these contracts before the expiration date in order to meet their needs.

  1. Interest Rate Futures

Interest rate futures are a type of hedging against the risk of a financial instrument's rate of interest fluctuating at some point in the future. Uncertain interest rates may impose an additional financial burden on businesses, resulting in significant losses. Interest rate futures are typically used in conjunction with money market or bond market securities such as government bonds, bills, and so on. They are the assets that these futures contracts are based on.

  1. Stock Futures

Single stock and stock market index futures are used by investors to hedge against risks, speculate, or just trade. They are also a reflection of investor confidence and feelings in the market. Single stock futures act as a hedge against the stock's future price. Stock market index futures, on the other hand, track the movement of an index.

Stock futures are financial derivatives that create an obligation to buy or sell a stock at a certain price and on a specific date in the future. They are beneficial to investors who have a significant stake in one or a few stocks. They wish to protect their risk position in the event of a potential stock price decline.

Types of Futures Traders

Speculators and hedgers are the two main types of investors in futures contracts. 

  1. Hedgers

    Hedgers are commodity producers, such as mining corporations or a farmer. The companies utilize futures contracts to protect themselves from future price volatility.

For example - A cocoa grower may believe that come harvest time, the commodity's price will have dropped. He could sell a futures contract at current rates to protect against perceived losses, then exit the deal by buying cocoa at lower prices near harvest time. In essence - he sold the cocoa at a higher price before purchasing it at a lower price when it was actually produced, being an advantage from the difference in selling and buying prices. Other hedgers are pension fund corporations, insurance companies, and banks.

  1. Speculators

    Private investors and independent floor traders are the ones that make up this category. These companies are primarily interested in making money by buying contracts that are predicted to get higher in the future and selling contracts that are expected to decline in the future. This type of investor purchases futures contracts at lower rates and sells when prices rise, much like they do with stocks and shares.

 

Types of Futures - FAQs

What is the meaning of a futures contract?

A futures contract is a legally binding contract that makes an obligation for the parties to trade into an asset at a specific price on a pre-decided date.

What are the kinds of futures contracts?

The kinds of futures contracts are:

Commodities, currency, interest rate, and stock market index futures.

What is an example of a future?

There are futures contracts for sugar, oil interest rates, and so much more.

How are futures traded?

They are usually traded on an exchange, and you can also buy and sell them on brokerage firms that have enabled F&Os.

Where can I buy commodity futures?

You can buy futures directly from an exchange or through a brokerage firm.

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