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What is a futures contract?

Futures contracts are financial derivatives that oblige the buyer to purchase some underlying asset (or the seller to sell that asset) at a predetermined future price and date. A futures contract allows an investor to speculate on the direction of a security, commodity, or financial instrument, either long or short, using leverage.

Who is obligated to deliver a futures contract?

Buyers of futures contracts are obligated to take delivery of the underlying asset when the contract expires, and sellers are obligated to deliver. Some contracts require the delivery of a physical asset, while others are cash-settled. Futures track a wide range of commodities and financial assets.

Is a futures contract a derivative?

The asset transacted is usually a commodity or financial instrument. The predetermined price of the contract is known as the forward price. The specified time in the future when delivery and payment occur is known as the delivery date. Because it derives its value from the value of the underlying asset, a futures contract is a derivative .

How do ICE Brent futures work?

A futures contract might also opt to settle against an index based on trade in a related spot market. ICE Brent futures use this method. Expiry (or Expiration in the U.S.) is the time and the day that a particular delivery month of a futures contract stops trading, as well as the final settlement price for that contract.

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