In financial derivatives terminology, the term Futures refers to standardized and transferable contracts traded on an exchange the price of which depends on that of an underlying asset. The delivery dates for such Futures contracts will generally fall on a particular set of dates, often quarterly, in order to provide greater liquidity. Also, Futures trade in amounts that are multiples of the standard lot size for the contract.
For example, Currency Futures have been actively traded since 1972 on the International Monetary Market or IMM, a division of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange or CME. These futures deliver on quarterly dates and have corresponding currency option contracts. They trade in all of the majors and minor currency pairs, as well as in some cross rates and exotic currency pairs against the U.S. Dollar. In addition to currencies, Futures contracts are also traded on underlying assets such as stock indexes, government bonds, commodities and interest rates.Major Futures exchanges include the CME, the Chicago Board of Trade and the New York Mercantile Exchange in the United States, and the Euronext-LIFFE exchange in Europe.