In futures markets, participants buy and sell futures for various commodities. The futures contract stipulates a specific price for a given commodity and a specific date (sometime in the future) for delivery. Buyers are generally interested in purchasing futures contracts in two separate instances. The first such instance is when they anticipate the price for particular commodities will be increasing in the future (speculators). The second instance is when someone such as a farmer needs to sell goods in the future and they want to be able to count on selling the goods at a specific price. Farmers and other producers of commodities often use futures to hedge against risk associated with fluctuations in the price of the product they are selling. Studying futures prices over time is useful, but past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. There are links to futures quotes and charts on this page, an excellent resource that shows each commodity's historic price performance. You can find the futures charts and futures quotes by clicking on the "chart" or "quote" icon in the "Links" column on the far right of the Futures Prices data table.
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