In commodity market terminology, coal is a dark-colored or black sedimentary rock that generally occurs in veins or layers called coal beds. The rock is highly combustible and is used widely around the world for the generation of electricity. It is the number one energetic source for the generation of electrical power in the United States.
Contracts for trading coal are available in North America and are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange under the symbol QL. The trading unit is 1,550 short tons per contract. The NYMEX contract is based on Central Appalachian coal and is quoted in U.S. Dollars and cents with a minimum fluctuation of $15.50 per contract. The Intercontinental Exchange or ICE also offers a coal futures contract with a trading unit of 5,000 metric tons or 5,500 short tons per contract which are also quoted in U.S. Dollars and cents per ton.