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Base Metals – CTRM Considerations


This page has some high level notes about Base Metals.  This is intended to share relevant information in the context of CTRM system design.



1) List of Base Metals

2) Trading Attributes

3) Considerations for CTRM system design


1) List of Base Metals




Aluminium Alloy













Note: These are considered ‘Non-Ferrous’, meaning no iron in them, unlike steel.  See:



2) Trading Attributes


2.1) Units

Base Metals may commonly trade in MT (metric tons), which is also called ‘tonnes’.  This is different than ‘tons’ in the US, which is 2000 pounds.  i.e., a metric ton is 1000 kilograms. 


2.2) Trade Types

Precious Metals will trade as


Options on Futures

Swaps (financial derivative)

Financial Options

Physical Buys and Sells


3) Considerations for CTRM system design


Note: In the example below, we’ll say ‘copper’ as an example and use that to refer to base metals in general, where applicable.


3.1) Multi-Currency

Need to be able to support pricing base metals in multiple currencies, e.g., EUR, USD, GPB.  Ideally with minimal extra setup and nothing special to maintain on an ongoing basis.


3.2) Price ‘Curve’

One of the big differences for base metals versus other commodities is the term structure of its forward curve.  Whereas energy commodities tend to be monthly, i.e., 12 price points per year, for base metals, there is a mix of daily points, weekly points, and then monthly points. 

For Copper, these are the ‘prompt dates’ on the LME.

Daily: out to 3 months

Weekly: 3 out to 6 months

Monthly: 7 out to 123 months




And, to clarify, by ‘daily out to 3 months’, that means that each new day, there will be a new trading point 3 months out rolling on / becoming active.  So a CTRM system will need to support/accommodate that.


3.3) Risk Reporting

The 3 month point (90 days) is of special significance.  Traders may want to see their positions expressed in terms of ‘3 month point’ equivalent.  E.g., if you have a position of 100 MT of copper for 6 months out, that might be the equivalent from a market risk point of view as 95 MT of the 3 month point.


As a generic note, this page is not intended to be a full design spec for base metals for a CTRM system.  Instead, it is intended to be the seed of information to use as a newly elevated starting point.



Introduction to CTRM

Click on this link for a great introduction to CTRM software: Introduction to CTRM Software




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