Chicago Mercantile Exchange
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryBusiness services
HeadquartersChicago, Illinois
ProductsFutures and options
OwnerCME Group
Chicago Mercantile Exchange building

The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) (often called "the Chicago Merc", or "the Merc") is a global derivatives marketplace based in Chicago and located at 20 S. Wacker Drive. The CME was founded in 1898 as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board, an agricultural commodities exchange. For most of its history, the exchange was in the then common form of a non-profit organization, owned by members of the exchange. The Merc demutualized in November 2000, went public in December 2002, and merged with the Chicago Board of Trade in July 2007 to become a designated contract market of the CME Group Inc., which operates both markets. The chairman and chief executive officer of CME Group is Terrence A. Duffy, Bryan Durkin is president.[1] On August 18, 2008, shareholders approved a merger with the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and COMEX. CME, CBOT, NYMEX, and COMEX are now markets owned by CME Group. After the merger, the value of the CME quadrupled in a two-year span, with a market cap of over $25 billion.[2]

Today, CME is the largest options and futures contracts open interest (number of contracts outstanding) exchange of any futures exchange in the world. The Merc trades several types of financial instruments: interest rates, equities, currencies, and commodities.

CME also pioneered the CME SPAN software that is used around the world as the official performance bond (margin) mechanism of 50 registered exchanges, clearing organizations, service bureaus, and regulatory agencies throughout the world.

Trading platforms

Trading is conducted in two methods; an open outcry format and the CME Globex electronic system. More than 90 percent of total volume at the exchange occurs electronically on CME Globex.

Open outcry

Operating during regular trading hours (RTH), the open outcry method consists of floor traders standing in a trading pit to call out orders, prices, and quantities of a particular commodity or its derivatives. Different colored jackets are worn by the traders to indicate what firm they are a part of. In addition, complex hand signals (called Arb) are used. These hand signals were first used in the 1970s. Today, however, headsets are also used by the brokers to communicate with the traders. The pits are areas of the floor that are lowered to facilitate communication, somewhat like a miniature amphitheater. The pits can be raised and lowered depending on trading volume. To an onlooker, the open outcry system can look chaotic and confusing, but in reality, the system is a tried and true method of accurate and efficient trading. An illustrated project to record the hand signal language used in CME's trading pits has been compiled.[3]

President George W. Bush at the CME (March 6, 2001)

CME Group announced in 2021 that it will permanently close most of its physical trading pits, including those for grain trading. They had been closed since March 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.[4]

Electronic trading

Operating virtually around the clock, today the CME Globex Trading System is at the heart of CME. Proposed in 1987, it was introduced in 1992 as the first global electronic trading platform for futures contracts. This fully electronic trading system allows market participants to trade from booths at the exchange or while sitting in a home or office thousands of miles away. On 19 October 2004, the one billionth (1,000,000,000) transaction was recorded.

When CME Globex was first launched, it used Reuters' technology and network.[5] September 1998 saw the launch of the second generation of CME Globex using a modified version of the NSC[clarification needed] trading system, developed by Paris Bourse for the MATIF (now Euronext).[6]

Traders connect to CME Globex via Market Data Protocol (MDP) and iLink 2.0 for order routing.


On October 17, 2006, Chicago Mercantile Exchange announced a merger with the Chicago Board of Trade in an $8 billion deal.[7][8] Shareholders of both companies approved the merger on July 9, 2007,[9] and the deal closed on July 12, 2007.[10][11] The overarching holding company then launched as CME Group.[9] On January 13, 2008, electronic trading at the Chicago Board of Trade shifted onto CME Globex.[12]


In 1984, the CME was investigated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. During this investigation, it was realized that the open-outcry system could be abused. The GAO noted that the exchange made attempts to cut down on malpractice, but that it is likely that illegal activity still occurs.[13]


Chicago Mercantile Exchange was known as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board when it was founded in 1898, and futures available through the exchange were initially limited to agricultural products.[14][15][16] In 1919 the Board was restructured and the name changed to Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which reflected a new focus on commodities beyond butter and eggs, including potatoes, onions, and cheese.[14][15][17] In 1972, CME introduced the first financial futures market, offering contracts on seven foreign currencies.[15][18] By the 2000s, CME had expanded to offer four core financial instruments: commodities, foreign exchange, interest rates, and stock indexes.[14][15] As of 2022, CME operates under CME Group, which offers a number of derivatives products, including commodities, equity indices, foreign exchange, interest rates, and weather.[19][14][20]

For example, as of 2017, agricultural contracts were offered on products such as wheat, corn, soybeans, and lean hogs.[21] In metal futures, the CME trades precious metals, base metals, and ferrous metals.[22][23][better source needed] The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is the only market for trading in weather derivatives. It launched its first weather products in 1999. Products include, but are not limited to: futures on rainfall, snowfall, hurricanes, and temperature.[24][25]

See also


Further reading


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of American Industries. Gale. 2011. p. 2432.
  3. ^ "CME Trading Pit Hand Signals History". Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  4. ^ "CME permanently closes open outcry trading". 2021-05-10.
  5. ^ "Deflating Globex: electronic exchanges". The Economisturl-access=subscription. 21 May 1994. Archived from the original on 24 September 2018. Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Reuters Dumped from Trading Service". Wired. 21 February 1997.
  7. ^ "Chicago Exchange to Buy Rival for $8 Billion". The New York Times. October 17, 2006. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  8. ^ Lucchetti, Aaron; MacDonald, Alistair; Taylor, Edward (October 18, 2006). "Chicago Merc to Buy Board of Trade". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  9. ^ a b Krasny, Ros (July 9, 2007). "CME buy of CBOT easily approved by shareholders". Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  10. ^ Krasny, Ros (July 12, 2007). "CBOT shares to be delisted at close of trade". Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  11. ^ "CME and CBOT Complete Merger Creating the Leading Global Financial Exchange". CME Group. July 12, 2007. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  12. ^ Saphir, Ann (2008-03-03). "Trading Places". Crain's Chicago Business. Crain Communications Inc.
  13. ^ Simmons, Craig (1989), Chicago Futures Market: Initial Observations on Trade Practice Abuses, pp. 3–6
  14. ^ a b c d Peijie Wang (5 March 2009). The Economics of Foreign Exchange and Global Finance. Springer. p. 256. ISBN 9783662592717. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  15. ^ a b c d Jay P. Pederson, ed. (2006). International Directory of Company Histories. Vol. 75. US: St. James Press.
  16. ^ Bennett A. McDowell (28 December 2010). The ART of Trading – Combining the Science of Technical Analysis with the Art of Reality-Based Trading. Wiley. ISBN 9781118039380. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  17. ^ "Chicago Mercantile Exchange records, 1900-2000". University of Illinois at Chicago. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  18. ^ "TIMELINE-Key dates in the history of CME Group". Reuters. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  19. ^ Kumar, Rajesh (2014). Strategies of Banks and Other Financial Institutions: Theories and Cases. Elsevier. p. 140. ISBN 9780124171671. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
  20. ^ "Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)". dxFeed. Devexperts Inc. Retrieved November 29, 2022.
  21. ^ Consuegra, Meliyara; Garcia-Verdugo, Javier (15 December 2016). "Measuring the functional efficiency of agricultural futures markets". Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. 61 (2): 232–246. doi:10.1111/1467-8489.12196. S2CID 157882828.
  22. ^ Mensi, Walid; Vo, Xuan Vinh; Kang, Sang Hoon (2022-06-01). "Upward/downward multifractality and efficiency in metals futures markets: The impacts of financial and oil crises". Resources Policy. 76: 102645. doi:10.1016/j.resourpol.2022.102645. ISSN 0301-4207. S2CID 247299380.
  23. ^ Chicago Mercantile Exchange. "Metal futures and options". CME Group. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  24. ^ Benth, Espen, Jurate (2012). Modeling And Pricing In Financial Markets For Weather Derivatives. Singapore: World Scientific. p. 100.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ Bemš, Július; Aydin, Caner (18 November 2021). "Introduction to weather derivatives". WIREs Energy and Environment. 11 (3). doi:10.1002/wene.426. ISSN 2041-8396. S2CID 244457751.