Intraday Commodity Trading Limits

Commodity futures intraday price movements are limited by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC. By imposing these trading limits, the CFTC seeks to maintain orderly trading in the marketplace and prevent price manipulation. The individual exchanges also work with the CFTC to regulate commodity price limits. The exchanges are authorized to suspend a commodity’s trading if price movements exceed the maximum intraday limit. One way commodity investors can work around the intraday price limits is by trading multiple contracts.

Agriculture Futures Intraday Price Limits

Corn, wheat and soybeans are traded in bushels. One futures contract controls 5,000 bushels. Corn’s intraday trading limit is $0.40 per bushel, which expands to $0.60 when the market closes. Wheat’s intraday trading limit is $0.60, which expands to $0.90 and then to $1.60 when the market closes. Soybeans’ intraday trading limit is $0.70, which expands to $1.05 and then to $1.60 when the market closes. One soybean oil contract controls 60,000 pounds. Soybean oil’s intraday price limit is 2.5 cents per pound, which expands to 3.5 cents and then to 5.5 cents when the market closes.

Energy Futures Intraday Price Limits

Crude oil is traded by the barrel. One futures contract controls 1,000 barrels. The intraday trading limit is $10 per barrel calculated from the previous day’s settlement price for each contract month. Reformulated blendstock for oxygenate blending, or RBOB, is the name for unleaded gasoline futures. One contract controls 42,000 gallons of unleaded gasoline. The intraday trading limit is $0.25 per gallon calculated from the previous day’s settlement price for each contract month. Natural gas is traded in British thermal units, or BTUs. One contract controls 10,000 million BTUs. The intraday trading limit is $1.50 per 10,000 million BTUs calculated from the previous day’s settlement price for each contract month.

Precious Metals Intraday Price Limits

Precious metals are traded in troy ounces. One gold futures contract controls 100 troy ounces. Gold’s intraday trading limit is $75 per troy ounce above or below the previous trading day’s settlement price. One silver contract controls 5,000 troy ounces. The intraday trading limit is $1.50 per troy ounce above or below the previous trading day’s settlement price. One platinum futures contract controls 50 troy ounces. Platinum’s intraday trading limit is $25 per troy ounce above or below the previous trading day’s settlement price.

Livestock Futures Intraday Price Limits

Livestock futures are traded in pounds. One live cattle futures contract controls 40,000 pounds of beef. Live cattle’s intraday trading limit is $0.03 per pound calculated from the previous trading day’s settlement price. One lean hog futures contract controls 40,000 pounds of pork. Lean hog’s intraday trading limit is $0.03 per pound calculated from the previous trading day’s settlement price.

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About the Author

Based in St. Petersburg, Fla., Karen Rogers covers the financial markets for several online publications. She received a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of South Florida.

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