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Home  >  Fundamental analysis  >  World exchanges  >  NYMEX and COMEX

New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and the New York Commodities Exchange (COMEX)

The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) is the world's largest physical commodity futures exchange located in New York City. Its two principal divisions are the New York Mercantile Exchange and the New York Commodities Exchange (COMEX) which were once independent companies but are now merged. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. is currently a large private company. However, the parent company, NYMEX Holdings, Inc. announced July 17, 2006 that it has registered with the SEC and is planning an IPO of its common stock in the near future.

The Butter and Cheese Exchange of New York was founded in 1872 by a group of dairy merchants who were trying to bring order and standardization to the chaotic conditions that existed in their industry. Gradually, the product base was broadened and the name was changed to the New York Mercantile Exchange 10 years later.

Over the years, the Exchange shifted towards industrial products. It was the first Exchange to successfully trade energy futures and options with the introduction of the heating oil futures contract in 1978. Today, the Exchange is the world's preeminent energy market and precious metals markets; agricultural products do not trade on the Exchange.

The Exchange's divisions, the NYMEX Division and the COMEX Division, were formed by the merger of the New York Mercantile Exchange and the Commodity Exchange, Inc., in 1994. The trading operations of each exchange were continued as the two divisions, offering trading in their respective futures and options contracts energy, platinum, and palladium for the NYMEX Division; gold, silver, and copper on the COMEX Division (aluminum was added since the merger). Trading rights on each division are bought, sold, and leased separately, but there are occasions when cross-divisional trading privileges in specific markets are granted to the opposite division.

The New York Mercantile Exchange handles billions of dollars worth of energy products, metals, and other commodities being bought and sold on the trading floor and the overnight electronic trading computer systems.

The floor of the NYMEX is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, an independent agency of the United States Government. Each individual company that trades on the exchange must send their own independent brokers. Therefore, a few employees on the floor of the exchange represent a big corporation and the exchange employees only record the transactions and have nothing to do with the actual trade.

On February 26, 2003, The New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) signed a lease agreement with the NYMEX to move into its World Financial Center headquarters and trading facility after the NYBOT's original headquarters and trading floor was destroyed in the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center.

The official address of the NYMEX headquarters and trading facility is One North End Avenue, New York, NY 10282-1101. The company has additional offices in Houston, Washington D.C., London, and Hong Kong.

Commodities traded on the exchange

  • Aluminum
  • Coal
  • Copper
  • Crude oil
  • Electricity
  • Gasoline
  • Gold
  • Heating oil
  • Natural gas
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Propane
  • Silver
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