The content has been provided by a third party not affiliated with E*TRADE. The material is for educational purposes only.
The information in the market commentaries have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but CME Group does not guarantee its accuracy and expressly disclaim all liability. Neither the information nor any opinions expressed therein constitutes a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any futures or options contracts. The information on this site compiled by CME Group is for general purposes only. All information and data herein is provided as-is. CME Group assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions. CME Group, its affiliates and any third party information and content providers expressly disclaim all liability with respect to the information and data contained herein including without limitation, any liability with respect to the accuracy or completeness of any data. You use the data herein solely at your own risk. All data and information provided herein is not intended for trading purposes or for trading advice.
CME Group, the Globe Logo, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., Globex and CME are trademarks of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. CBOT is the trademark of the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago, Inc. NYMEX is the trademark of the New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. COMEX is a trademark of Commodity Exchange, Inc. All other marks are held by their respective owners.
Copyright (c) 2017 CME Group. All rights reserved.
Overview of Expiration and Settlement
All futures contracts have a specified date on which they expire. Prior to the expiration date, traders have a number of options to either close out or extend their open positions without holding the trade to expiration, but some traders will choose to hold the contract and go to settlement.
Settlement is the fulfillment of the legal delivery obligations associated with the original contract. For some contracts, this delivery will take place in the form of physical delivery of the underlying commodity. For example, a food producer looking to acquire grain may be looking to take delivery of physical corn or wheat, and a farmer may be looking to deliver his grain to that producer. Although physical delivery is an important mechanism for certain energy, metals and agriculture products, only a small percent of all commodities futures contracts are physically delivered.
In most cases, delivery will take place in the form of cash settlement. When a contract is cash-settled, settlement takes place in the form of a credit or debit made for the value of the contract at the time of contract expiration. The most commonly cash-settled products are equity index and interest rate futures, although precious metals, foreign exchange, and some agricultural products may also be settled in cash.
For traders choosing to go to settlement, the form of delivery will be highly dependent on the needs of each trader, as well as the unique characteristics of the product being traded.