Understanding 5 Types of Futures Contracts in the Indian Market

In the world of finance, understanding the different types of futures contracts is crucial for Indian market investors and traders. These standardized agreements, traded on organized exchanges like the NSE- National Stock Exchange and the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCX) in India, offer opportunities for hedging, speculating, and arbitraging. In today’s blog, we will explore the primary types of futures contracts available to Indian investors, shedding light on their unique characteristics and applications.

Equity Futures

Definition: Equity futures contracts are based on individual stocks or shares of companies listed on the stock exchanges. Equity futures allow investors to speculate on the specific stocks’ future price movements without owning the underlying shares.

Example: You can buy or sell Reliance Industries futures, representing 500 shares of Reliance Industries.

Key Points:

  • Investors can take bullish or bearish positions on specific stocks.
  • Leverage is available, allowing traders to control a larger position with a smaller initial margin deposit.
  • Futures are available for a select list of stocks.

Index Futures

Definition: Index futures contracts are based on stock market indices like Nifty 50, Bank Nifty, and Nifty IT. They enable investors to take positions on the overall market or specific sectors without trading individual stocks.

Example: You can buy or sell Nifty 50 futures, representing 75 units of the Nifty 50 index.

Key Points:

  • Ideal for market or sector-wide speculation.
  • Provides diversification benefits compared to single-stock futures.
  • Highly liquid and popular instruments.

Commodity Futures

Definition: Commodity futures contracts are linked to physical commodities, including agricultural products, metals, and energy resources. They facilitate hedging against commodity price fluctuations or speculating on supply and demand factors.

Example: You can buy or sell gold futures, representing 1 kg of gold.

Key Points:

  • Widely used for risk management in the commodity industry.
  • Attracts speculators due to lower initial margins.
  • Prominent commodity futures exchanges include MCX and NCDEX.

Currency Futures

Definition: Currency futures contracts are based on foreign exchange rates, allowing investors to hedge against currency risk in international transactions or speculate on exchange rate movements.

Example: You can buy or sell USD/INR futures, representing 1000 US dollars.

Key Points:

  • Useful for managing currency exposure in international trade.
  • Available for various currency pairs, including USD, GBP, EUR, and JPY.

Interest Rate Futures

Definition: Interest rate futures contracts involve interest-bearing instruments like government bonds and treasury bills. Investors can hedge against interest rate risk or speculate on changes in interest rates.

Example: You can buy or sell 10-year government bond futures, representing Rs. 2 lakh face value of bonds.

Key Points:

  • Useful for managing fixed income investments.
  • Can be used to hedge against interest rate movements.
  • Interest yield is implied in bond prices.


In conclusion, Indian market investors and traders have access to a diverse range of futures contracts. These standardized financial instruments cater to various risk management and trading needs, allowing individuals and institutions to explore the far spread complexities of the financial markets. However, it is essential to remember that futures trading carries high risks and requires a thorough understanding of the market and the risk management strategies. Make informed decisions, conduct thorough market research, and stay up to date with the latest market trends in order to make the most of futures trading opportunities.

FAQs| Future Contract Types

What are the different types of future instruments?

Different types of future instruments include commodities, stock indices, currencies, precious metals, and interest rates. Each represents a distinct asset class for trading.

What is an example of a futures contract?

An example of a futures contract is buying a December 2023 gold futures contract on MCX. For instance, if the current spot price of gold is Rs 50,000 per 10 grams, and the futures price for December 2023 is Rs 52,000 per 10 grams, you can purchase this contract, which typically requires a margin payment of a fraction of the contract’s total value.

What are future and forward contract types?

Future and forward contract types are derivative contracts that obligate parties to buy or sell an underlying asset at a predetermined future date and price. Futures are standardized and traded on organized exchanges, while forwards are customized and traded over-the-counter (OTC). Futures can be settled by physical delivery or cash settlement, while forwards are settled exclusively through physical delivery.

What is a futures contract with an example?

A futures contract is a standardized agreement to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified future date and price. For instance, buying a December 2023 gold futures contract on MCX, where you pay a margin to control a larger contract value, is a typical example of a futures contract


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.