The CME Group operates one of the world’s largest options and futures exchanges. As a market operator, CME Group provides centralized marketplaces where buyers and sellers can trade futures and options on futures in a transparent, liquid, open and competitive environment. CME Group merged with the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007 to become one of the world’s biggest derivatives exchanges.


CME Group Inc. operates exchanges for trading futures and options on futures contracts in various asset classes including interest rates, equities, currencies, energy, metals and agricultural commodities. It also offers trading of over-the-counter derivatives.

CME Group has grown to become one of the largest derivatives exchanges through a series of mergers and acquisitions. Its exchanges include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Commodity Exchange Inc (COMEX).

Some key facts about CME Group:

  • Formed in 2007 from the merger of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade
  • World’s largest derivatives marketplace with 3 billion contracts worth $1 quadrillion traded in 2021
  • Offers trading across a range of asset classes including commodities, currencies, equities, interest rates and more
  • More than 500 million contracts traded electronically each day with customers in over 60 countries
  • Home to many benchmark futures contracts like WTI crude oil, gold, corn, S&P 500 Index
  • Employs over 2,300 people globally

In this comprehensive guide we explore the history, marketplace offerings, trading platforms and key futures products of CME Group.

A Brief History of CME Group

CME Group traces its origins back over 175 years to when 82 Chicago merchants formed the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) in 1848 to bring structure and transparency to the buying and selling of commodities.

In 1919, a group of merchants created the Chicago Butter and Egg Board which evolved into the modern day Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) specializing in futures and options. In 2000, CBOT and CME demutualised to become for-profit shareholder companies.

In 2007, CBOT and CME merged to create CME Group Inc, becoming the parent company of CBOT and CME. This merger created economies of scale and allowed the exchanges to use shared technology and clearing services.

Other major acquisitions by CME Group include:

  • Acquired NYMEX Holdings Inc. (parent company of COMEX and NYMEX) in 2008
  • Acquired 90% stake in Dow Jones stock and commodities indexes in 2010
  • Acquired Kansas City Board of Trade in 2012
  • Launched European exchange CME Europe in 2011
  • Acquired global OTC markets provider NEX in 2018

Today, CME Group operates 6 exchanges globally and ranks as the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace. It employs over 2,300 people worldwide.

CME Group Marketplace Offerings

CME Group operates marketplaces that allow buyers and sellers to trade futures, options, spot and OTC markets across all major asset classes:

Interest Rates

  • CME Group offers trading in interest rate products including U.S. Treasuries, Fed Fund futures, Eurodollars and swaps. Benchmark contracts include 30-Day Fed Funds, 2-Year T-Note, 5-Year T-Note, 10-Year T-Note, 30-Year T-Bond.

Equity Indexes

  • Trade futures and options tied to key stock indexes like S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, Dow Jones, Nikkei 225. Mini versions are available for retail traders.

Foreign Exchange

  • Major currency pairs, cross-currency pairs, currency indexes and options available for trading futures, spots and forwards.


  • Crude oil benchmarks like WTI and Brent crude offered along with other energy futures like natural gas, gasoline, heating oil and more.


  • Gold, silver, copper, platinum and palladium futures and options available for both industrial and precious metals.


  • Corn, wheat, soybeans, cocoa, coffee, cotton, livestock futures and options offered.

Real Estate

  • Residential and commercial real estate derivatives provide exposure to U.S. housing markets.


  • CME offers futures and options on key weather indexes tied to temperature, snowfall and rainfall in cities worldwide.

In addition to futures and options, CME Group also offers trading for equities, spot FX and OTC derivatives through its NEX subsidiary. More than 3 billion contracts worth over $1 quadrillion in notional value traded across CME Group’s exchanges in 2021.

CME Group Trading Platforms

CME Group operates two trading platforms for its global exchanges:

CME Globex

CME Globex is an electronic trading platform operating nearly 24 hours a day from Sunday – Friday. It allows customers to trade futures and options across all major asset classes directly from their trading terminals.

Key features of CME Globex include:

  • Access to global markets across asset classes on one platform
  • High-speed order matching and execution with peak capacity of over 40 million messages/second
  • Low latency connectivity and co-location services
  • Advanced functionality like spreading, implied pricing, analytics, charting
  • Supported interfaces include FIX API, CME Direct, TT API and more
  • Available as browser-based, downloadable desktop, mobile and cloud deployments

Over 90% of CME Group’s volume is traded electronically on Globex with more than 500 million contracts changing hands daily. It uses CME Group’s data centers and telecom providers to ensure optimized performance worldwide.

CME ClearPort

CME ClearPort is an electronic platform offering execution, clearing and delivery for OTC derivatives markets. It enables customers to submit trades, manage collateral and access clearing services across swaps, forwards, options and other OTC instruments.

Key features include:

  • Execution of OTC derivatives trades with straight-through processing to clearing
  • Credit screening, risk filters and approval workflows to manage counterparty risk
  • Margin calculation, collateral management and settlement of cleared trades
  • 24×5 trading on web, FIX API, TT API and other protocols
  • Clearing services for $200 trillion notional value in OTC derivatives annually

In 2018, CME Group acquired global OTC leader NEX which expanded its offerings in FX forwards, swaps and options across commodities, rates and credit asset classes.

Important CME Group Futures Contracts

CME Group offers hundreds of benchmark futures contracts across global markets. Here are some of the most heavily traded and influential futures on CME Group’s exchanges:

E-Mini S&P 500 (ES)

The E-mini S&P 500 contract tracks the popular stock market index S&P 500. It is traded electronically nearly 24 hours a day on Globex with contract size of $50 times the S&P 500 index. It is one of the most liquid futures in the world with hundreds of thousands of contracts traded daily.

WTI Crude Oil (CL)

The WTI Crude Oil contract is the world’s most liquid crude oil futures contract and the main futures benchmark for North American crude prices. Each contract represents 1,000 barrels of oil with delivery at Cushing, Oklahoma. It trades extensively both electronically and in open outcry.

Gold (GC)

Gold futures offer exposure to fluctuating gold prices. CME Group gold futures represent 100 troy ounces of gold deliverable in certified plates or bars of at least .995 fineness. Gold trades both electronically on Globex and via open outcry in New York.

E-mini Nasdaq 100 (NQ)

The E-mini Nasdaq 100 tracks the Nasdaq 100 stock index made up of the 100 largest non-financial stocks on the Nasdaq exchange. It has smaller contract size than the regular Nasdaq 100 futures. It trades nearly 24 hours a day on CME Globex.

Euro FX (6E)

The Euro FX contract provides exposure to fluctuating EUR/USD exchange rates. It represents 125,000 euros and trades electronically via CME Globex from Sunday – Friday. The Euro FX is one of the most liquid currency futures.

Corn (ZC)

Corn futures allow traders to hedge against or speculate on corn prices. Each contract represents 5,000 bushels of deliverable grade corn. The contract trades on CME Globex and the trading floor from Sunday night to Friday afternoon.

10-Year T-Note (ZN)

The 10-year T-Note futures track the 10-year US Treasury note which is a major benchmark for global interest rates. Each contract has a face value of $100,000 with a minimum price fluctuation of 1/4 of 1/32 per dollar face value. It trades nearly 24 hours a day electronically.

Copper (HG)

Copper futures are widely used by producers and consumers of copper to hedge their pricing risk. The contract represents 25,000 pounds of high grade copper cathode deliverable in New York, Chicago or Utah. It trades on CME Globex and via open outcry from Monday – Friday.

British Pound Sterling (6B)

The British Pound Sterling futures contract provides exposure to fluctuating GBP/USD exchange rates. Each contract represents 62,500 British Pounds and trades electronically Sunday – Friday on CME Globex. It is an important benchmark for hedging the British Pound.

These are some of the flagship futures contracts offered by CME Group that see substantial daily trading volume from hedgers, institutional traders and active retail traders. The exchange continually works to launch new contracts in areas with potential demand.

CME Group Trading Volume and Open Interest

CME Group reports monthly volume and open interest statistics which highlight the overall activity across its suite of futures and options. Some key numbers for 2021:

  • 3.15 billion futures and options contracts traded in 2021, up 22% from 2020
  • $240 trillion in notional value traded, up 36% vs prior year
  • 129 million futures contracts open interest on 31 December 2021
  • 55% of volume from outside the United States
  • 4.5 million average contracts traded per day across all products
  • 18.2 million contracts average daily volume for interest rates
  • 2.3 million contracts average daily volume for equity indexes
  • 1.4 million contracts average daily volume for energy contracts
  • 87% of trading volume on CME Globex electronic platform

These figures illustrate the deep liquidity across CME Group’s marketplaces which spans the globe. The statistics also highlight the growth in trading activity over the past couple years as volatility led to surging volumes.

CME Group Market Data

In addition to trading futures and options, CME Group also generates revenue by distributing its market data to participants worldwide. It offers a range of market data services including:

  • CME Market Data Platform – Low latency, high throughput direct access for order book, trade, quote and other market data
  • CME Datamine – Historical futures and options data for backtesting, modeling and analytics
  • CME DataMine Historical Weather – Historical weather data matched to exchange locations
  • Derived Data Products – Value-added data like fair value curves, volatility surfaces, indexes and more
  • Real-Time Data – Top of book, last trades, yields, calculations and analytics
  • Reference Data – Corporate actions, security master,描述 profiles, taxonomy data and more

By delivering high quality, timely market data to traders, clearing firms, data providers and others, CME generates over $2 billion annually in recurring data services revenue.

CME Group Clearing Services

CME Clearing is the clearing house division of CME Group which acts as a central counterparty clearing corporation (CCP). It clears, settles and guarantees all matched transactions executed across CME Group’s exchanges.

Key aspects of CME Clearing include:

  • Counterparty Credit Risk Mitigation – CME Clearing stands between the original buyer/seller to remove counterparty default risk.
  • Trade Guarantee – Settlement guarantees provide certainty that all trades will be fulfilled.
  • Collateral Management – Margining process collects collateral to cover potential market risk and member defaults.
  • Daily Marks to Market – Open positions marked to market daily with variation margin calls as needed.
  • Clearing Fund – Acts as an additional buffer against member defaults or unusual credit events.
  • 18 Clearing Members handle vast majority of clearing services for 300+ firms and traders worldwide.

CME Clearing brings stability and security to CME Group’s markets by standing behind every trade. Even during the financial crisis it continued to operate normally.


CME Group operates the world’s leading regulated derivatives marketplace spanning major asset classes and markets worldwide. Its exchanges provide centralized trading and price discovery markets for derivatives traders.

Key strengths of CME Group include its diverse product offering, benchmark futures contracts, high liquidity, integrated clearing services and electronic trading platforms like CME Globex.

After 170+ years of history in derivatives markets, CME Group continues to evolve through new product launches, market data services and acquisitions as the regulatory landscape and trading technologies change over time. For participants seeking risk management, investment exposure or trading opportunities across global markets, CME Group remains an essential marketplace.