What are cotton futures?

Cotton futures contracts (CT) are based in an industry that has experienced enormous farming, manufacturing, and marketing changes over the last 3,500 years. While many crop commodities (such as coffee) are more land and climate specific, cotton can grow nearly anywhere that has the requisite 200 frost-free days and a basic water supply. Cotton futures prices are ever shifting as conditions favor different growths in different countries, and as technology continues to improve the manufacturing, marketing, and even genetic structure of cotton. Government involvement in pricing and production as well as international and regional trade agreements also contribute to market changes.

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How to trade cotton futures

Cotton futures are traded on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) trading platform and are available to trade electronically through Schwab.  An account approved to trade futures is required in order to trade cotton futures. 

Cotton futures contract specifications

Considering trading cotton futures? Here are the cotton futures contract specifications.

Cotton futures contract specifications
Exchange, Product Name and Product Code Intercontinental Exchange, Cotton, CT
Contract Size 50,000 pounds
Minimum Tick Size and Value 0.01, worth $5.00 per contract.
Trading Times Cotton futures trade electronically on the ICE platform from 9:00 p.m. U.S. ET to 2:20 p.m. U.S. ET.
Principal Trading Months Primary trading months for cotton futures and options are March, May, July, October, and December.

At Schwab, you also get access to advanced trading platforms and education, where you can take advantage of market research, real-time cotton futures quotes, and other specialized tools. 

Why trade natural gas futures?

One of U.S.'s first cash crops, the universal appeal of cotton and use in a diversity of products makes cotton an influential commodity and thus cotton futures contracts (CT) as a result. 

Consumers and producers of cotton may consider purchasing or selling cotton futures to help manage risk. Businesses that use cotton might hedge to secure a purchase price, and producers might hedge to lock in a selling price for the cotton they produce. Speculators may assume the price risk that hedgers try to avoid in return for a chance to profit from cotton price movements, buying cotton futures when they think prices will go up, or selling when they think cotton prices will go down. Speculators may also look to weather conditions, global stockpiling and global economic health as indicators of potential demand for cotton products.

It is important to understand the benefits and risks involved with cotton futures before trading futures contracts. Cotton futures provide the ability to trade with greater leverage and allow a more efficient use of trading capital. However, trading leveraged products like cotton futures also involves the risk that losses can exceed the amount originally invested and may not be suitable for all investors.

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