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FOREX Versus Futures Market - What Is The Difference

Aug 17, 2007
Today's market takes root in the agriculture markets of the 19th century, when farmers began to sell contracts to deliver their crops at a later date. This was done to anticipate the needs of the market and stabilize supply and demand during poor crop seasons. Like goods and services, the contracts themselves soon became seen as valuable. A grocery store chain, for example, might want to bid on such a contract to ensure that they, and not their competitors, have fresh strawberries during the winter.

1. The Futures Market

The current futures market, of course, includes far more than just foods! It is a market for all sorts of commodities including manufactured goods, agricultural products, and financial instruments such as currencies and treasury bonds. A futures contract states what price will be paid for a product at a specified delivery date.

2. Playing The Futures Market

When an investor plays the futures market, the actual goods are not important and there is no expectation of a real delivery. After all, locusts or the elements of nature could destroy the crop. As such, the value of the contract itself changes daily according to the market value of the commodity.

3. How Transactions Work

A futures contract has a buyer and seller. The contract specifies the buying price, a quantity of goods, and a delivery date. You can never lose money on a futures trade - you will never pay more than the initial amount of the contract. By locking in prices at a fixed rate, you ensure that you will still get that price years from now, protecting against price raises. On the other side of the coin, if the value of the commodity drops, the producer will make money.

4. How Is Profit Made?

In the end, investors are hoping to profit from the daily fluctuations of the market. They buy long term contracts and hope the market will rise the value of the commodities. This way, they can buy low and sell high. Alternatively, those wishing to sell their goods can offer short term contracts if they expect the value of those items to go down.

5. The FOREX Market

FOREX is trading in currencies. It is therefore very liquid in nature - you will never get stuck with two hundred boxes of strawberries that have to be sold within 2 weeks or they will go bad and youll lose a lot of money. Far, far less slippage occurs in the FOREX market compared with the futures market. Slippage is a term that refers to you losing money.

6. Always Open

While most futures exchanges can happen 7 hours in any given day, FOREX is open 24 hours a day for trading. This makes futures far more liquid, able to take advantage of trading opportunities as they arise.

7. No Commission

Traders pay a fee for each transaction they enter into instead of having to pay commissions to brokers. There is a very high volume of trading FOREX transactions are almost instantly executed. This minimizes slippage and increases price certainty. Brokers in the futures market often quote prices reflecting the last trade - not necessarily the price of your trade.
About the Author
For more great forex market related articles and resources check out http://commodities-futures.info
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