How is margins on Futures contract calculated

It cannot be exaggerated that mastering margins is one of the principal factors in the successful trading of futures. Margin is assets that a trader is obliged to put with their broker in order to start as well as keep a futures contract position. Margin calculation should be done against risk as well as adequate capital so that market fluctuations do not affect negatively on an enterprise. In this article, we’ll uncover the detailed steps on how margin calculation for futures contracts is done.

  • Understanding Futures Contracts

The first step in margin calculation is to comprehend the inherent nature of futures contracts. The underlying asset may be a commodity, currency or stock index. The positions on such contracts are opened in specialized markers and are subject to compulsory and standardized rules.

  • Initial Margin

The initial margin is the money amount a trader is required to place on deposit with the broker to mark off an opening futures contract, positional position, or an offsetting position. In this way, this margin works as good-faith security, or as a bond, guaranteeing that the trader has sufficiently large capital to cover possible losses. The margin is composed of different parts such as asset underlining, contract size, and the market’s volatility to determine the size of the margin.

  • Calculation of Initial Margin

Usual setting is in the form of the margin as a percentage of the contract value. For example, if the margin requirement for specific future contract is 10% and the value of that contract is 100,000, a trader needs to subdue down 10,000 of his or her capital as the initial margin.

Also, it should be mentioned that exchanges and brokers may decide to change the initial margin requirements depending on the current market conditions, volatile situation, and so on.  This management is in fact, a risk balanced step.

  • Maintenance Margin

The initial margin deposited is essential to start off a position and the maintenance margin is the smallest amount that is mandatory to sustain the position. If the account balance falls below the maintenance margin level, the trader will receive a margin call, and will have to either contribute more of their own funds to pledge as collateral or close the position.

  • Calculation of Maintenance Margin

The maintenance margin is usually made up of a smaller amount, such as a percent of the total contract value. For example, a futures trading where the maintenance margin requirement is 7% will be the most appropriate contract from this point of view. When margin requirement is 5% and the contract value is 100,000, the trader must always have at least 7,500 in account to preserve the trade.

Maintenance Collateral = Contract Value ÷ Maintenance Margin Requirement

The initial margin and maintenance margin requirements are the things that might change between the future contracts as well as the brokers.  Therefore, be alert to the contract you are trading as well as the broker to avoid any surprises.

  • Margin Calculations and Leverage

One of the major benefits of futures contract is that you can assume durable positions with a fraction of the price of the contract. This is known as gearing, and it creates, at the same time, winning both the potential gains and losses. The leverage ratio, as measured by the contract size and margin requirement, is obtained by dividing the contract size by the price movement.

Margin Ratio = Contract Value/Initial Margin Requirement due to over-collateralization.

For example, if the contract value is 100,000 and the initial margin requirement is 10,000, the leverage ratio would be 10:One of figures (100,000 divided by 10,000). This essentially means that trading with 1% margin of your money, would be considered a 100,000 position.

However, leverage has two sides: it can increase profitability and, at the same time, it can be disastrous if one doesn’t use it wisely. The Credit Crunch | Leverage on the scale of what the subprime bubble banks took on when the crisis hit them can magnify losses at the same time, as it can amplify profits, so the risk management becomes very important.

  • Real-Time Margin Monitoring

As the global economy is being driven by the future trading, where the margin requirements are being rapidly changed because of market volatility and price movements. Usually, brokers use the system of margin accounting that is real time to ask traders to make sure they have enough money in their accounts to cover potential losses.

In such cases when the value of the trader’s portfolio has declined dramatically, the broker may notify the trader of a margin call.  The trader is then required to deposit certain funds to cover the maintenance margin requirement. Missing a margin call puts the broker in an uncomfortable position where it will have to close your position in order to avoid further losses.

  • Margin Computations and Risk Management

Not only good margin calculations help meeting regulatory requirements but also they take a central role in effective risk management. Dealers ought to be prudent in devising risk tolerance, size of accounts, and patterns of trading when a calculation of margin should be made.

Through realizing the way trading margins are calculated, traders are better equipped to control their risks exposure, make wise use of capital, and formulate intelligent position sizing and leverage decisions. It is also important not to forget to check margin requirements and to have a collaborative relationship with prominent brokers who are concerned with both transparency and compliance to industry norms.


In the field of futures trading, margins are their living cells in which traders can control considerable positions by using a little capital sacrifice. Through insight into the initial margins, maintenance margins, and the leverage equations, traders will be better equipped to trade efficiently and to keep the risk exposure at the lowest level possible.

Recall, when leverage is added, profits can be amplified but with it so come losses. Risk management is crucial and the market analysis should be comprehensive.  In addition, a disciplined approach towards trading will ensure that long term success is possible in futures trading.

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