COMEX: The Metals Trading Powerhouse
COMEX, short for The Commodity Exchange Inc., is the primary market for trading precious metals like gold, silver, copper, and aluminum. It merged with New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in 1994 and is now part of the CME Group. COMEX plays a vital role in global metals trading.
COMEX, The Commodity Exchange Inc., is a vital institution in the world of metals trading. Founded in 1933 through the merger of four smaller exchanges in New York, it became a powerhouse for trading precious metals. In 1994, COMEX joined forces with the NYMEX, solidifying its position as a global leader in physical futures trading. Today, it operates as part of the CME Group.
Location and Volume
COMEX is headquartered in Manhattan's World Financial Center. It handles a staggering volume of over 400,000 futures and options contracts daily, making it the most liquid metals exchange globally. The activities on COMEX have a direct impact on precious metal markets worldwide.
COMEX is the primary clearinghouse for gold, silver, and copper futures, all traded in standardized contract sizes. Additionally, mini and micro versions of these contracts are available. Other metals like aluminum, palladium, platinum, and steel are also traded on the exchange. However, it's crucial to understand that most futures contracts are not intended for physical delivery but are used for hedging price risk.
For those interested in acquiring the actual physical metal, delivery options are available. To do so, a futures contract holder must notify the clearinghouse of their intent and inform COMEX of their plan to take possession of the physical commodity in their trading account. This process typically involves establishing a long (buy) futures position and waiting for a short (seller) to issue a delivery notice.
Deliveries and Ownership
It's essential to clarify that COMEX itself doesn't supply precious metals; these are provided by the seller as part of the contract rules. Sellers who cannot deliver the metals must close their position before the last trading day. Those intending to make or take delivery must possess the metal in an approved depository, represented by COMEX-approved electronic depository warrants or warehouse receipts.
COMEX Acceptable Bars
Investors requesting delivery receive COMEX acceptable or deliverable bars. These bars are produced by COMEX-approved refiners and adhere to strict standards set by COMEX. To qualify as COMEX deliverable or good delivery, metals must meet specific purity, weight, and size criteria.
Delivery involves the transfer of ownership of the metal warrant two business days after the seller issues the notice of intent. The transfer occurs at the settlement price determined by the exchange on the day the seller provides the notice. It's crucial to note that the exchange doesn't set the price for precious metals; it's determined by market forces of supply and demand.
COMEX, born from the merger of smaller exchanges, has evolved into a global hub for precious metals trading. With its headquarters in Manhattan, it processes a massive volume of contracts daily, significantly influencing global metal markets. While most contracts are settled financially, it offers the option for physical delivery, subject to stringent quality standards. Understanding COMEX is essential for anyone interested in the world of precious metals trading.