Most Traded Futures
The World’s Most Actively Traded Futures Contracts
Particularly if you are a day trader, trading volume is an important part of trading futures. Trading is hard enough without dealing with big bid/ask gaps and being unable to get your fills. People are stronger when they work together, as the old saying goes. Moving a very liquid contract over an over-the-counter asset that isn’t traded costs a lot more money.
What is the biggest futures market?
The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group operates the world’s largest futures market, offering a diverse range of futures contracts across various asset classes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Futures Contracts
- Best Futures to Trade
- S&P 500 E-mini (ES)
- 10-Year T-Notes (ZN)
- Maturity Sweet Spot
- No Actual Delivery
- Crude Oil (CL)
- 5-Year T-notes (ZF)
- Impact of the Federal Reserve
- Gold (GC)
- EuroFx (6E)
- 30-year T-Bonds (ZB)
- Japanese Yen (6J)
- 2-year T-Notes (ZT)
- Eurodollars (GE)
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Recommended for You
An asset can be purchased or sold between two parties under a futures contract at a defined price and time in the future. It is a standardized contract that details the amount and calibre of the underlying asset, the date and price at which the transaction will take place, as well as other important details.
Futures contracts can be used for financial products like currencies and stock indexes as well as commodity markets like agriculture, energy, and metals. Investors and traders frequently utilise them to diversify risk, manage price volatility, and speculate on future price moves.
As a trader, this high liquidity gives you some protection from sudden price changes and market manipulation. Think of liquidity in the market as a kind of protection policy. In this piece, we’ll talk about the 10 futures options that trade the most often worldwide.
If you want to know which Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) futures options are the most popular, you can find them here. At this point, I will give a full outline for each highly liquid contract. You can start with this list to determine which contract will help you reach your selling goals.
Best Futures to Trade
S&P 500 E-mini (ES)
On average, more than 1.6 million options are traded daily in the S&P500 Emini futures contract. The S&P500 E-mini futures contracts are, without question, the best of the bunch. The low day trading profits and tight tick size make it a good market. Not to mention that the S&P500 E-mini futures contracts follow the actual S&P500 stock index. This makes it easy for traders to gain exposure to one of the most famous market measures.
10-Year T-Notes (ZN)
The fact that 10-year Treasury note futures are number two on the list of the world’s top 10 most liquid futures products is not a big surprise.
Maturity Sweet Spot
The 10-year Treasury note is in a good spot regarding when it will be due. It doesn’t come due too soon, so it can handle short-term interest rates, and it doesn’t come due too late, so it can handle market forces that affect the 30-year.
No Actual Delivery
The 10-year T-Note futures follow the cash market price of the 10-year Treasury note released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Futures buyers who buy 10-year T-Notes can bet on interest rates and can easily go long or short.
The big difference between the actual cash and futures markets is that the contract can be closed for cash, so there is no physical receipt of the 10-year T-note. Speculators like to trade interest rates, but traders with real exposure to the real market can also protect themselves by trading the 10-year T-Note futures derivative contracts.
Crude Oil (CL)
Crude oil futures are the most liquid commodity futures contract and the third most liquid futures contract overall. Crude oil futures are sold at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), part of the CME group. The futures contract tracks the base market of light sweet crude oil with the code CL.
Crude oil futures are exciting because they are traded nearly 800,000 times daily. Crude oil futures are a good choice for traders because they are volatile and move quickly in response to the news. Futures contracts for crude oil are traded monthly and carried over to the next month.
5-Year T-notes (ZF)
The 5-year T-Note futures are a good option to the 10-year T-Note futures for people who trade on the credit markets.
Impact of the Federal Reserve
As with many short-term interest rates or Treasury assets, the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies greatly affect 5-year T-Note futures. The Chicago Board of Options Trade (CBOT) offers standardized 5-year T-Note futures. The face value of 5-year T-Note futures is $100,000. There are four contract months per quarter, and trades happen almost around the clock.
Gold futures contracts have the second most popular metal futures and the fifth most active ones. The contract follows the spot gold markets, and the futures prices are adjusted daily to reflect the current market. Gold futures are sold by COMEX, which is part of the CME group, and the average daily volume is over 300,000.
EuroFX futures are a contract the CME group offers. They are a type of currency futures contract. The Euro FX futures are ranked sixth overall and first in the futures for currencies. The Euro Fx futures contracts, also called Euro/US dollar futures contracts, are a good way for buyers to get exposure to the shared currency used by 27 countries. The Euro/US dollar swaps are flexible and have a theoretical value of €125,000.
30-year T-Bonds (ZB)
The 30-year Treasury bond futures, called T-Bond futures, show how interest rates will change in 30 years. The 30-year interest rates have very important for figuring out important rates like mortgage rates.
30-year T-Bond futures have been around since 1977. Speculators, hedge funds, and different market players trade them often. The three contract months for T-Bond futures are June, September, and December, and each contract is worth $100,000.
Japanese Yen (6J)
Futures contracts on the Japanese yen have the second most traded currency futures contracts and the eighth most liquid contracts altogether. The Japanese yen futures contracts give buyers access to the third biggest economy in the world. The USD/JPY on the cash market is the same as those of yen futures contracts.
2-year T-Notes (ZT)
The 2-year Treasury Note futures follow the markets where the 2-year T-note bonds are bought and sold. The CBOT market sells futures products, which the CME group makes. The 2-year Treasury note is the third interest rate derivative of the three. The quarterly contract months for the 2-year T-Note futures are March, June, September, and December. They have a contract size of $200,000 and a minimum tick of 0.0078125. Each tick is worth $15.625.
Eurodollars are part of the bank accounts that pay interest and are made in U.S. dollars but kept at banks outside of the U.S. Some buyers get Eurodollars and Euro foreign exchange futures contracts mixed up.
Investors like Eurodollars because the Federal Reserve does not regulate them and has fewer rules. So, the high risk makes it appealing to buyers, especially those who want to make more money. There are 10 contract months for Eurodollar futures, with a minimum tick size of 0.0025 and a tick value of $6.25.
In summary, the most popular futures contracts differ by market and geography. The most frequently traded futures contracts in the US are for commodities like crude oil, gold, and food items like corn and soybeans. Financial products like interest rates, stock indexes, and currencies are the most actively traded futures contracts in Europe.
The appeal of futures contracts is due to their capacity to offer traders and investors possibilities for speculation and hedging as well as price transparency and liquidity in the underlying markets. Futures trading is projected to become more and more popular due to the expanding globalisation of markets and technological advancements.
The most traded futures contracts include those based on popular assets like crude oil, gold, S&P 500 index, Treasury bonds, and currency pairs like EUR/USD. These contracts attract high trading volumes due to their liquidity and global significance.
Yes, trading high-volume futures involves risks like price volatility, unexpected market events, and leverage. Traders should have a solid understanding of the markets, risk management strategies, and the potential for losses.
Yes, individual investors can trade these futures through brokerage accounts. However, due to the complexities and risks involved, it’s crucial for individuals to educate themselves and possibly seek professional advice before trading.
Yes, aside from the most traded contracts, there are futures available for commodities like natural gas, agricultural products, and various global indices. Traders might explore these contracts based on their interests and market insights.
Beginners should start by educating themselves about futures trading, learning about the specific contracts they’re interested in, practicing with demo accounts, and gradually moving to real trading while practicing proper risk management.
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Written By: Allen Matshalaga
Allen is a professional forex trader, blogger, and online enthusiast who spends most of his time testing and reviewing legit ways of making money online and is determined to help others succeed.