What are crude oil futures?

Crude oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) are the world's most actively traded futures contract on a physical commodity. Because of its excellent liquidity and price transparency, the contract is used as a principal international pricing benchmark. The NYMEX also offers trading in heating oil futures and gasoline futures.

Crude oil futures provide individual investors with an easy and convenient way to participate in one of the world's most important commodity markets. In addition, a broad cross-section of companies in the energy industry-from those involved in exploration and production to refiners-can use crude oil futures contracts to hedge their price risk. Light, sweet crude is preferred by refiners because of its low sulfur content and relatively high yields of gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, and jet fuel. Even companies that are substantial consumers of energy products can use crude oil futures to protect against adverse price fluctuations.
 

Start trading crude oil futures for just $2.25 per contract pricing.

How to trade crude oil futures

Crude oil futures are 1,000 barrels per contract, traded from 6:00 p.m. U.S. until 5:00 p.m. U.S. ET, all months of the year. However, you can trade more than just NYMEX crude oil futures online with Schwab. We also offer Brent crude oil futures as well as E-mini crude oil futures, which are just 50% of the size of a standard futures contract. E-mini crude futures trade exclusively on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange's Globex® platform nearly 24 hours per day. 

Crude oil futures contract specifications

Considering trading crude oil futures? Here are the crude oil futures contract specifications.

Crude oil futures contract specifications
Exchange New York Mercantile Exchange, CL
Contract Size 1,000 Barrels
Minimum Tick Size and Value 0.01 per barrel, worth $10.00 per contract.
Trading Times Electronic trading of crude oil futures is conducted from 6:00 p.m. U.S. until 5:00 p.m. U.S. ET via the CME Globex® trading platform, Sunday through Friday.
Principal Trading Months Crude oil futures contracts trade every calendar month, from January through December.

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Why trade crude oil futures?

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