Complete guide to Futures Symbols | Months, exchanges and contract info

In the following post I’ll provide a complete guide to understanding futures symbols. I’ll explain what a Futures symbol is and how to interpret the symbols.

I’ll also provide a detailed list of some of the most traded future contracts for easy reference.

Table of Contents

  1. Futures symbols explained
  2. Futures contract exchanges
  3. Futures symbols month codes
  4. Futures symbols and contract information
  5. Micro E-mini futures symbols & Micro futures symbols
  6. Stock Indices futures symbols & Indices E-mini futures symbols
  7. Currencies futures symbols & Currency E-mini futures symbols
  8. Energies futures symbols & Energies E-mini futures symbols
  9. Metals symbols
  10. Grains symbols
  11. Softs symbols
  12. Interest rates symbols

Futures symbols explained

Individual futures contracts are identified by a unique future contract symbol.

Unlike traditional stocks or currency pairs that can be traded in perpetuity and have no maturity date. Futures contracts expire after a specified period of time. The expiry of individual futures contracts depends on the commodity, Index or currency futures contract being traded. Typically contract durations are between one and three months.

Futures symbols help to identify individual contracts and their expiration date.

Futures symbols are categorized by the commodity, Index or currency. The month that the futures contract expires and the year the contract expires.

The table below illustrates a typical futures symbol code:

ESH22
Contract Symbol (S&P 500)Expiration month (March)Expiration year (2022)

The example above illustrates the S&P 500 index futures contract that expires in March 2022. The symbol for this contract would be SPH22.

Futures contract exchanges

Each futures and futures options contract can be traded through a specific exchange. It’s important that if you want to trade a specific futures contract you have the right data feed to the relevant exchange.

When you sign up for a brokerage account you will typically be given the option to select the a data feed for a single exchange or a package that includes several exchanges.

Exchange data is typical charged on a monthly basis. The cost of the exchange data will depend on the exchange plus data feed technology of the various providers.

The main Futures and futures options exchanges include: CME, CBOT, COMEX, KCBT, MGEX, ICE and NYMEX.

Futures symbols month codes

In the table below you can find the futures symbol codes for each month of the year.

Month symbols are used to identify what month a contract is due to expire.

Unfortunately the the monthly symbol code letters have little in common with each of the months. So it’s either you need to memorizer each letter or have the following table on hand for reference.

JanFebMarAprMayJun
FGHJKM
JulAugSepOctNovDec
NQUVXZ

Futures symbols and contract information

The following sections provide information for the most common futures contracts. Each section lists the instrument symbol, futures contract being traded, exchange the instrument is listed on, contract expiration months, contract size, minimum tick size and the tick value:

Important note: The data above is sourced from time of writing. for the most up to date information please refer to the relevant exchanges.

Micro E-mini futures symbols & Micro futures symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
Micro E-mini S&P 500MESCMEH,M,U,Z$5 x S&P Index value0.25 / $1.25
Micro E-mini Nasdaq100MNQCMEH,M,U,Z$2 x Index value0.25 / $0.50
Micro E-mini DowMYMCBOT/CMEH,M,U,Z$0.50 x DJIA Index value1.00 / $0.50
Micro E-mini Russell 2000M2KCMEH,M,U,Z$5 x Russell 2000 Index value0.10 / $0.50
Micro DAXFDXSEurexH,M,U,Z1 x Index value0.5/0.50
Micro AUD/USDM6ACMEH,M,U,Z10K AUD0.0001 / $1.00
Micro GBP/USDM6BCMEH,M,U,Z6250 £0.0001 / $0.625
Micro CAD/USDMCDCMEH,M,U,Z10000 CAD0.0001/ $1.00
Micro EUR/USDM6ECMEH,M,U,Z12500 €0.0001 / $1.25
Micro JPY/USDMJYCMEH,M,U,Z1.25 mil ¥0.000001 / $1.25
Micro CHF/USDMSFCMEH,M,U,Z12500 CHF0.0001 / $1.25
Micro WTI Crude OilMCLNYMEX/CMEAll100 Barrels0.01 / $1.00

Stock Indices futures symbols & Indices E-mini futures symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
E-mini S&P 500ESCMEH,M,U,Z$50 x Index value0.25 / $12.50
E-mini Nasdaq100NQCMEH,M,U,Z$20 x Index value0.25 / $5.00
E-mini Dow ($5)YMCBOT/CMEH,M,U,Z$5 x Index value1.00 / $5.00
E-mini Russell 2000RTYCMEH,M,U,Z$50 x Index value0.1 / $5.00
DAXFDAXEurexH,M,U,Z25 x Index value1.00/12.50
FTSE 250 IndexYICEH,M,U,Z£2 x Index value0.5/£1
Indices futures contracts *For Micro E-mini Indices contracts see table above

Currencies futures symbols & Currency E-mini futures symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
Australian Dollar6ACMEH,M,U,Z100K AUD0.0001 / $10.00
British Pound6BCMEH,M,U,Z62.5K £0.0001 / $6.25
Canadian Dollar6CCMEH,M,U,Z100K CAD0.00005 / $5.00
Euro FX6ECMEH,M,U,Z125K €0.00005 / $6.25
Japanese Yen6JCMEH,M,U,Z12.5 mil ¥0.0000005 / $6.25
New Zealand Dollar6NCMEH,M,U,Z100K NZD0.00005 / $10.00
Swiss Franc6SCMEH,M,U,Z125K CHF0.0001 / $12.50
E-mini Euro FXE7CMEH,M,U,Z62.5K €0.0001 / $6.25
E-mini Japanese YenJ7CMEH,M,U,Z6.25 mil ¥0.000001 / $6.25
Currency futures contracts * For Micro Currencies see table above

Energies futures symbols & Energies E-mini futures symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
Crude OilCLNYMEX/CMEAll1000 Barrels0.01 / $10.00
E-mini Crude LightQMNYMEX/CMEAll500 Barrels0.025 / $12.50
Natural GasNGNYMEX/CMEAll10000 mmBtu0.001 / $10.00
E-mini Natural GasQGNYMEX/CMEAll2500 mmBtu0.005 / $12.50
Energies futures contracts *For Micro WTI Crude Oil see table above

Metals symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
GoldGCCOMEX/CMEG,J,M,Q,V,Z100 oz0.1 / $10.00
E-mini GoldQOCOMEX/CMEF,G,J,M,Q,V,Z50 oz0.25 / $12.50
CopperHGCOMEX/CMEAll25K lbs0.0005 / $12.50
E-mini CopperQCCOMEX/CMEAll12500 lbs0.002 / $25.00
SilverSICOMEX/CMEF,H,K,N,U,Z5000 oz0.005 / $25.00
E-mini SilverQICOMEX/CMEF,G,H,K,N,U,Z2500 oz0.0125 / $31.25
PlatinumPLNYMEX/CMEF,J,N,V50 oz0.1 / $5.00
Metal futures contracts *For Micro Gold and E-Micro Silver see table above

Grains symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
CornZCCBOT/CMEH,K,N,U,Z5000 bu1/4 / $12.50
Chicago SRW WheatZWCBOT/CMEH,K,N,U,Z5000 bu1/4 / $12.50
SoybeansZSCBOT/CMEF,H,K,N,Q,U,X5000 bu1/4 / $12.50
OatsZOCBOT/CMEH,K,N,U,Z5000 bu1/4 / $12.50

Softs symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
LumberLBSCMEF,H,K,N,U,X110K board feet0.10 / $11.00
CocoaCCICE H,K,N,U,Z10 tons1.00 / $10.00
CottonCTICE H,K,N,V,Z50k lbs0.0001 / $5.00
CoffeeKCICE H,K,N,U,Z37.5k lbs0.0005 / $18.75

Interest rates symbols

Futures Contract NameSymbolExchangeExpiry monthContract sizeMin Tick / Tick $ Value
2 Year US Treasury NoteZTCBOT/CMEH,M,U,Z$200K note1/128 / $15.625
3 Year US Treasury NoteZ3NCBOT/CMEH,M,U,Z$300K note1/128 / $15.625
5 Year US Treasury NoteZFCBOT/CMEH,M,U,Z$100K note1/128 / $7.8125
10 Year US Treasury NoteZNCBOT/CMEH,M,U,Z$100K note1/64 / $15.625

If your interested in finding knowing the exact date that an individual futures contract expires check out my previous post by clicking the link.

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