Trading Copper Futures Contracts

What are copper futures?

Copper futures provide traders with direct exposure to speculate on the price fluctuations of copper. Often called “Dr. Copper,” as it can be considered a gauge for the health of the global economy, the copper futures market can help diversify your trading portfolio and is an efficient trading alternative to mining stocks and ETFs.

Copper is heavily employed in the production of automobiles, electronics, and many other manufacturing processes. Due to its durability and antimicrobial properties, copper is also a key building material for homes, commercial buildings, and other large infrastructure projects around the world, making it a uniquely important market for traders.

Why Trade Copper futures?

Copper futures (contract symbol = HG) offer traders an opportunity to diversify their trading portfolio as copper is generally uncorrelated to equity and other futures markets. Benefits of trading copper futures include the ability to:

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Speculate effectively on the global economy using copper as a benchmark

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Trade on a level playing field with transparent price and volume data

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Nearly 24-hour trading of copper futures with good liquidity to capitalize on unique opportunities

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Trade a Micro contract for increased position precision and flexibility

Trade Micro copper futures to reduce financial commitment

At 1/10th the size of standard copper futures contracts, Micro copper futures contracts allow traders to access dynamic markets with lower costs and reduced day trading margins. Other advantages of trading Micro copper futures include: 

  • Increased flexibility to scale in and out of positions
  • Ability to manage trade risk more precisely
  • Highly leveraged instrument for more buying power

Leverage also increases the risk associated with futures trading and only risk capital should be used for trading.

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Who trades copper futures?

Copper futures traders can be broken down into three main groups:

  • Commercial traders are typically trading futures to hedge the price of copper. For example, copper mining companies that trade futures are hedging known copper reserves that are yet to be mined. Commercial traders are also industrial companies that use large amounts of copper for construction and manufacturing. Commercial traders who buy copper futures contracts will often take delivery of copper.
  • Large professional speculators are typically commodity pool operators, proprietary trading firms, institutional investors, and hedge funds. These traders are purely speculating on the price movement of copper and generally do not take delivery or hold actual copper. Typically, commercial traders and large speculators make up 90% or more of the daily trading volume in copper futures.
  • Self-directed retail traders make up the remaining daily trading volume in copper. Like large speculators, they rarely take actual delivery of copper and prefer to close their future contracts to avoid delivery. 

What impacts the price of copper futures?

When the economy is strong, there is a higher demand for copper which may lead to an increase in its price. Conversely, when there is an economic downtrend, demand for copper is low and the price of copper may decrease.

As copper is a key strategic metal, many countries have begun stockpiling it to avoid supply disruptions, which can increase demand and prices temporarily. News and reports related to advances in mining technology, alternative materials, increased recycling, and undiscovered deposits can also have short-term effects on the price of copper.

There are other fundamental factors that can affect the price of copper over both the short- and long-term. Traders wanting to profit from price movements in the copper futures market should keep abreast of current economic news and events and have a good understanding of key fundamental pricing factors in the copper futures market.

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Risks of Copper Futures Trading

Copper futures trading offers direct access to the highly active and often volatile futures market. It should only be taken on by those traders who have researched the fundamentals, understand contract specifications, and have a detailed tested trading plan including a risk management strategy.

Like every futures contract, the primary risk of trading copper futures contracts is that the price will go against the trader’s position. Like most other physical commodities, supply and demand dynamics greatly influence the price and volatility of copper futures.

If you are a new copper futures trader, practicing in a futures trading simulator with live market data can help you prepare for market swings and test your strategy before trading with real money.

Copper Futures Contract Specifications

Copper futures are standardized exchange-traded contracts that represent 25,000 pounds of copper (standard contract) or 2,500 pounds of copper (Micro contract). 

Retail traders typically buy and sell copper futures contracts to speculate whether the price will go up or down and typically do not want to take delivery of the physical copper. You can trade copper futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (COMEX) on the electronic CME Globex system.

Standard [Asset] FuturesMicro [Asset] Futures


Comex CME GlobexComex CME Globex
Contract point value25,000 pounds2,500 pounds
Minimum price fluctuation0.0005, (25000*.0005 = $12.50 per-contract per-minimum move)
0.0005, (2500*0.0005 = $1.25 per-contract per-minimum move)
Trading hoursSunday 6:00 pm ET to Friday 5:00 pm ET.
Sunday 6:00 pm ET to Friday 5:00 pm ET.
Listed contractsMonthly contracts listed for the current year and the next 2 calendar years and any Mar(H), May(K), Jul(N), Sep(U), and Dec(Z) in the nearest 63 months
Monthly contracts listed for the current year and the next 2 calendar years and any Mar(H), May(K), Jul(N), Sep(U), and Dec(Z) in the nearest 63 months
Expiration style Trading ceases at 1:00 pm ET on the third to last business day of the contract month
Trading terminates at 1:00 pm ET on the third last business day of the month prior to the contract month
First notice date^Last trading day of the month prior to the contract month
Last trading day of the month prior to the contract month
SettlementPhysically settled
Financially settled
Additional Specifications
View all from CME Group
View all from CME Group

Become a Copper Futures Trader Today

Ready to start trading standard copper futures or Micro copper futures? NinjaTrader is here to support you. With an award-winning trading platform and daily premium market commentary with industry pros, NinjaTrader equips you with the tools you need to embark on your futures trading journey.

Our platform gives you everything you need to prepare yourself to trade copper futures and build your portfolio. You can practice your acumen and build necessary skills through our futures trading simulator, which lets you participate in a virtual environment without putting your own money on the line. 

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Frequently asked questions about copper futures

A copper futures contract is a tradable instrument for the purchase and delivery of 25,000 pounds (standard) or 2,500 pounds (1/10 micro contract) of copper. Each copper futures contract has a unique set of contract specifications that are set by the futures exchange.
Trading copper futures trading involves an agreement between a buyer and seller at a specified price in a contract that will expire on a specific date. Copper is trading on the CME Globex systems with transparent pricing, orders, and positions.
Trading copper futures contracts has many advantages, one of which is direct market access for speculating on the price movement of copper. Copper futures provide good liquidity virtually 24 hours a day, lower trading capital requirements, and uncorrelated diversification. Copper futures can also offer traders more trading opportunities and flexibility over mining stocks, CFDs, and ETFs with their many limitations.
Copper futures are traded on a well-regulated exchange where orders are matched and cleared on a fair and level playing field with full price and order transparency. Traders can place buy and sell orders through their broker to enter or exit a position virtually 24 hours a day in the copper futures market.
Yes, you can trade copper futures with NinjaTrader. NinjaTrader is an industry-leading futures broker offering low commissions, low margin rates, and safety of your account funds. With NinjaTrader, you can trade dozens of the most actively traded futures markets in the world including the copper futures contract.
Like every futures contract, the primary risk is that the price of the copper futures will go against the trader’s position. Mining sector news and government reports related to supply and demand, or storage and exploration can all have a significant effect on the price of copper futures.
Economic activity from the global copper industry has a significant impact on the world economy. With its wide use in public and private construction, electronics, and a multitude of industrial and manufacturing applications, the price of copper is a vital economic indicator worldwide.
Copper (CU) is a reddish-brown chemical element which is soft and malleable with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is one of the few metals that occur in nature in a usable form instead of needing to extract it from an ore. Copper has been used by humans for at least 10,000 years. Copper and tin are combined to make bronze, which was a significant technological leap almost 5,000 years ago. The Statue of Liberty is covered in 31 tons of copper. It was used for its durability and beautiful green patina that has formed over time.
Approximately 20% of all copper produced each year is used in electrical wiring, which does not include its use in other building construction. Around 30% of all copper utilized each year goes into plumbing, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and roofing. An electric or hybrid car can include as much as 180 pounds of copper.
^In any futures market where there is physical delivery, in order to prevent the possibility of physical delivery, it is NinjaTrader’s policy to close all open futures positions one day prior to first notice date or one day prior to last trading day, whichever is earlier.