Automated Trading of Futures Strategies in CME: A Technological Leap


Automated trading is rapidly becoming the norm in financial markets worldwide. It uses computer algorithms to make trading decisions, submit orders, and manage those orders after submission. One such venue where automated trading is gaining prominence is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), renowned for futures trading. In this article, we'll delve into how automated trading is transforming futures strategies at CME.

The Rise of Automated Trading:

Automated trading, often referred to as algorithmic trading, is not a new phenomenon. However, with advancements in technology and the availability of sophisticated trading platforms, its use in futures trading has skyrocketed.

At CME, one of the world's leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, automated trading has emerged as a critical component for traders. The move from the open outcry system to an electronic trading system has largely facilitated this shift.

How Automated Trading Works:

Automated trading involves the use of algorithms, mathematical models that can automatically execute trades when certain pre-set conditions are met. Traders program these algorithms based on their trading strategies.

For instance, a simple moving average crossover strategy might trigger a buy order when the 50-day moving average of a futures contract crosses above the 200-day moving average. With automated trading, this order can be executed automatically when the condition is met, eliminating the need for the trader to monitor the markets constantly.

Benefits of Automated Trading in Futures Strategies:

Automated trading brings several benefits to the table. These include:

  1. Speed and Efficiency: Computers can process information and execute trades faster than humans. This can be especially beneficial in the fast-paced world of futures trading where price changes occur within milliseconds.
  2. Eliminating Emotional Bias: Automated trading helps keep emotions in check, thus preventing panic selling or greedy buying. Algorithms strictly follow the pre-set rules, regardless of market conditions.
  3. Backtesting: Traders can use historical data to backtest their strategies before deploying them in the live market. This can help improve the strategy's effectiveness and reduce potential risks.
  4. Round-the-Clock Trading: Automated systems can operate 24/7, allowing traders to capitalize on opportunities that may arise outside regular trading hours.

Automated Futures Trading at CME:

CME offers a variety of futures contracts, from agricultural products to energy, metals, interest rates, and more. With automated trading, traders can execute strategies across these diverse asset classes with more speed and precision.

CME also provides a range of resources for automated traders, including educational materials, data services, and APIs for connecting trading software to the exchange's electronic trading platform, CME Globex.

Regulatory Considerations:

While automated trading presents several advantages, it also comes with challenges. Regulators are particularly concerned about the risk of algorithmic trading causing market disruptions. CME, like other exchanges, has rules in place to promote fair and orderly trading and to prevent manipulative behavior.


Automated trading of futures strategies at CME represents a significant shift in the trading landscape, offering numerous benefits for market participants. As technology continues to evolve and regulatory frameworks adapt, the role of automated trading in futures markets is likely to continue to grow. Traders who can harness this technology effectively stand to gain a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving world of futures trading.