The British Pound (or pound sterling) is the world’s oldest currency still in use, dating back to Anglo-Saxon England in the middle 8th century. It’s the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories. The pound is the fourth most traded currency in the foreign exchange market after the U.S. Dollar, the Euro, and the Japanese Yen. It’s also the third most held reserve currency on the global reserves.
The two key factors affecting a currency’s value are central bank monetary policy and the trade balance. An easy monetary policy (low interest rates) is bearish for a currency because the central bank is aggressively pumping new currency reserves into the marketplace and because foreign investors are not attracted to the low interest rate returns available in the country. By contrast, a tight monetary policy (high interest rates) is bullish for a currency because of the tight supply of new currency reserves and attractive interest rate returns for foreign investors.
The other key factor driving currency values is the nation’s current account balance. A current account surplus is bullish for a currency due to the net inflow of the currency, while a current account deficit is bearish for a currency due to the net outflow of the currency. Currency values are also affected by economic growth and investment opportunities in the country. A country with a strong economy and lucrative investment opportunities will typically have a strong currency because global companies and investors want to buy into that country’s investment opportunities.
The British Pound currency futures contract provides a vehicle to assess the relative value of the U.S. Dollar compared to the pound, manage risks associated with currency rate fluctuations in the currency markets and to take advantage of profit opportunities stemming from changes in rates.
The futures contract trades on Globex, the CME Group’s electronic exchange. The market opens at 5:00 PM CT and closes the following day at 4:00 PM CT, Sunday through Friday. The market closes Friday afternoon and re-opens Sunday evening.
One futures contract is 62,500 British Pounds and pegged to the US Dollar. The most common contract symbol is 6B.
One price increment or “tick” is $6.25. A price move from 1.5400 to 1.5401 is $6.25. Therefore, a price move from 1.5400 to 1.5500 is $625.
The performance bond or initial margin requirement to initiate one futures contract position is $2,035 (as of November 11, 2015). To control that futures position going forward the maintenance margin becomes $1,850 (as of November 11, 2015).
The futures contract month listings are March (H), June (M), September (U), and December (Z).
The futures contract’s Last Trading Day (LTD) is the second business day immediately preceding the third Wednesday of the contract month which is typically a Monday. The September 2012 British Pound currency contract LTD is September 17, 2012 for example.
If a contract is held through expiration, the settlement procedure is a cash settlement in accordance with the CME Daily FX Settlement Procedures.
This particular market trades virtually around the clock (including while the European markets are trading from roughly 2:00 AM CT to 10:30 AM CT and Asian markets are trading from roughly 5:00 PM CT to 2:00 AM CT) and is susceptible to outside markets and fundamental influences.
Visit our Markets section for additional contract specifications and market information regarding the British Pound futures market.
STOP ORDERS DO NOT NECESSARILY LIMIT YOUR LOSS TO THE STOP PRICE BECAUSE STOP ORDERS, IF THE PRICE IS HIT, BECOME MARKET ORDERS AND, DEPENDING ON MARKET CONDITIONS, THE ACTUAL FILL PRICE CAN BE DIFFERENT FROM THE STOP PRICE. IF A MARKET REACHED ITS DAILY PRICE FLUCTUATION LIMIT, A "LIMIT MOVE", IT MAY BE IMPOSSIBLE TO EXECUTE A STOP LOSS ORDER.
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