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Forward contract

A forward contract is a customized financial agreement between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a predetermined future date and price, providing a hedge against price fluctuations.

Understanding forward contracts: a comprehensive guide

Forward contracts are a fundamental tool in the realm of finance, offering businesses and individuals a means to manage future risks associated with fluctuating prices. These contracts enable the purchase or sale of an asset at a pre-determined price on a specified future date.

What are forward contracts?

Forward contracts are agreements between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a future date for an agreed-upon price. They are customizable, private agreements typically traded over-the-counter (otc), tailored to the specific needs of the involved parties.

How do forward contracts work?

In a forward contract, the buyer and seller agree on details such as the asset, price, quantity, and settlement date. These contracts do not involve an exchange but instead bind the parties to fulfill the agreement at the specified future date. They are useful in hedging against potential price fluctuations, particularly in commodities and currencies.

Key features of forward contracts

  • Customizable agreements between two parties.
  • Involve the purchase or sale of an asset at a predetermined price on a future date.
  • Help in managing and mitigating risks associated with price fluctuations.

Benefits of forward contracts

  • Risk management: businesses use forward contracts to hedge against potential losses due to price changes.
  • Customization: parties can tailor contracts to specific needs, which is beneficial for unique situations.
  • Price certainty: locking in a price for future transactions helps in financial planning and budgeting.

Risks associated with forward contracts

  • Counterparty risk: The risk that one party may fail to meet the terms of the contract.
  • Market risk: The potential for unexpected price movements that could impact the contract's value.


Forward contracts offer a means to manage and mitigate risks associated with price fluctuations in various assets. They provide a way for businesses and individuals to plan and secure future transactions at predetermined prices. Understanding the ins and outs of forward contracts is essential for those seeking to navigate the complexities of financial markets.

In summary, forward contracts provide a valuable tool for managing risks in an ever-changing market, offering stability and predictability in uncertain times.