Futures

A future is a tradeable contract that commits you to taking delivery (if you buy), or making delivery (if you sell), of an agreed amount of something at an agreed time. For example, you might buy a contract for ten tons of iron at £10,000 on a date in February.

If you pay a 10% deposit on the iron (£1,000) to secure the contract and if the price per ton rose in February to £1,400, you would make a £4,000 profit on the iron by selling it for £14,000. If prices fall you’ll lose money. Futures contracts are used for trading commodities or foreign currencies.

Most traders never see the product as they will buy or sell a contract of identical size to close out their positions before the delivery date.

• Watch Tim Bennett’s video tutorial: What are futures?

Paul Hodges: house prices could fall 50% in 'Great Unwinding'

Merryn Somerset Webb interviews Paul Hodges about deflation, the global economy's 'Great Unwinding', and how Britain's house prices could halve.


Which investment platform?

When it comes to buying shares and funds, there are several investment platforms and brokers to choose from. They all offer various fee structures to suit individual investing habits.
Find out which one is best for you.


23 January 1967: Milton Keynes founded

The most famous of Britain's garden cities, Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, was founded on this day in 1967, along an American-style grid pattern.