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Spot Market

Updated on July 18, 2023

The spot market, also known as the cash market or physical market, is a financial market where financial instruments, commodities, or currencies are traded for immediate delivery or settlement. In the spot market, transactions are settled “on the spot,” meaning the exchange of the asset and payment occurs almost immediately, typically within two business days.

What are the key characteristics of the spot markets?

Immediate Settlement – In the spot market, transactions are settled immediately or within a short period, typically within two business days. This means that the buyer pays for and takes possession of the asset right away.

Physical Delivery – In certain spot markets, such as commodities or physical goods markets, the exchange involves the physical delivery of the actual asset. For example, in the spot market for agricultural products, the buyer takes delivery of physical goods like wheat, rice, or oil.

Price Determination – Spot market prices are determined by the interaction of supply and demand in real time. Market participants’ buying and selling activities, economic factors, geopolitical events, and other market conditions influence spot market prices.

Transparency – The spot market is generally transparent, with real-time price quotes readily available to market participants. The transparency of prices allows traders to make informed decisions based on current market conditions and ensures a fair and efficient market.

Market Liquidity – The spot market tends to be highly liquid, meaning there is a significant volume of trading activity and ample availability of buyers and sellers. High liquidity facilitates efficient price discovery and allows traders to enter or exit positions with minimal impact on prices.