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The Ins and Outs of Gold Futures Margin

For active precious metals traders, the gold futures contracts listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) are the industry standard. Offering robust liquidity and consistent volatility, they are premier products for anyone interested in gold futures margin trading. From intraday scalping to swing trading strategies, bullion market participants rarely find the need to look outside of the offerings listed on the CME.

Full-Sized COMEX Gold on the CME

Initially founded in 1933, the Commodity Exchange Inc. (COMEX) offered gold futures for a long time. It merged with the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) in 1994, and was later acquired by the CME. COMEX gold continues to be a global leader in the precious metals trade.

The full-sized COMEX gold contract (GC) is the derivatives market benchmark for bullion. Accessible on the CME Globex, COMEX gold futures offer unparalleled liquidity, accounting for volumes equivalent to 27 million ounces daily.

When it comes to applying leverage, the gold futures margin local to the GC contract offers second-to-none market exposure. Here are the contract specs:

Symbol Size Minimum Tick Tick value:
GC 100 troy ounces $0.10 $10

In relation to the size of GC, brokerage-independent margin requirements enable traders of moderate capitalizations to participate in the market. As far as full-sized contracts go, the gold futures margin of COMEX gold is less than competing issues, specifically those listed on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Although margins vary from broker to broker, here are solid ballpark figures:

Symbol Initial Margin Maintenance margin Intraday margin
GC $4400 $4000 $1500

Given enhanced liquidity and a near 24/5 business week, the GC contract offer traders many opportunities. Although holding open positions through the daily close is capital intensive, executing intraday strategies is possible with as little as $2000. Depending on your resources and goals, trading COMEX gold futures on the CME may be a great way to engage the precious metals markets.

Our blog has critical trading information perfect for new and experienced traders, hedgers, producers, and investors.

Reduced Exposure: CME E-micro and E-mini Gold

For smaller retail traders, the size of standard COMEX gold futures may make them a nonstarter. The $10 tick value and $4400 maintenance margin are daunting obstacles, effectively taking the contract off the table. If trading full-sized bullion is not realistic given your resources, don’t worry. The CME has several reduced-size products that may be more suitable for you.

CME E-mini Gold

The E-mini gold contract offers traders a smaller contract size, yet an enhanced per-tick value. While trading volumes are modest in comparison to its standard counterpart, many traders look to E-mini gold for a strategic edge. Here are the specifications:

Symbol Size Minimum tick Tick value
QO 50 troy ounces $0.25 $12.50

Due to the greater minimum tick value, the E-mini contract is not subject to price action typical of standard GC. This enables brokers to offer reduced gold futures margin requirements, as seen below:

Symbol Initial margin Maintenance margin Intraday margin
QO $2200 $2000 $1100

CME E-micro Gold

For the ultimate in granularity, the CME’s E-micro gold futures offer vastly reduced contract sizes and tick values. Similar to the new Micro E-mini equities products, E-micro gold is 1/10th the size of the standard GC contract, making it tradable for only a few hundred dollars. Here’s a quick look at the specs for E-micro gold:

Symbol Size Minimum tick Tick value
MGC 10 troy ounces $0.10 $1.00

In concert with the smaller contract size, E-micro gold is subject to vastly reduced margin requirements:

Symbol Initial margin Maintenance margin Intraday margin
QO $440 $400 $220

The strategic implications of the E-micro’s tick values and margin requirements are extensive. Swing trading, intermediate-term investing, and multicontract strategies are all possible, even for those traders with limited capital.

Getting Started with Gold Futures Margin Trading

If you’re an aspiring precious metals trader, then the gold futures products available on the CME have something for you. No matter if you’re a high net worth investor or a small cap retail player, the GC, QO, and MGC contracts can fulfill your bullion trading needs.

For more information on accessing these exciting markets, check out the brokerage service suite available at Daniels Trading. From self-directed to broker-assisted options, Daniels has everything you need to engage gold on your terms.

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Risk Disclosure

This material is conveyed as a solicitation for entering into a derivatives transaction.

This material has been prepared by a Daniels Trading broker who provides research market commentary and trade recommendations as part of his or her solicitation for accounts and solicitation for trades; however, Daniels Trading does not maintain a research department as defined in CFTC Rule 1.71. Daniels Trading, its principals, brokers and employees may trade in derivatives for their own accounts or for the accounts of others. Due to various factors (such as risk tolerance, margin requirements, trading objectives, short term vs. long term strategies, technical vs. fundamental market analysis, and other factors) such trading may result in the initiation or liquidation of positions that are different from or contrary to the opinions and recommendations contained therein.

Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance. The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or commodity options can be substantial, and therefore investors should understand the risks involved in taking leveraged positions and must assume responsibility for the risks associated with such investments and for their results.

Trade recommendations and profit/loss calculations may not include commissions and fees. Please consult your broker for details based on your trading arrangement and commission setup.

You should carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your circumstances and financial resources. You should read the “risk disclosure” webpage accessed at at the bottom of the homepage. Daniels Trading is not affiliated with nor does it endorse any third-party trading system, newsletter or other similar service. Daniels Trading does not guarantee or verify any performance claims made by such systems or service.

About Daniels Trading

Daniels Trading is an independent futures brokerage firm located in the heart of Chicago’s financial district. Established by renowned commodity trader Andy Daniels in 1995, Daniels Trading is built on a culture of trust committed to the firm’s mission of Independence, Objectivity and Reliability.

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