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Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP)


Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP) is a private agreement between two parties to trade a futures contract for the actual physical commodity. It allows traders to switch a futures position to a position in the underlying commodity without going through the usual market procedures. EFP is often used by hedgers who need to physically possess the commodity and speculators who wish to profit from price differences between the futures contract and the physical commodity.


The phonetic pronunciation of Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP) is:ex-change ov fyoo-chərz fər fiz-i-kuhl (E-F-P).

Key Takeaways

1. EFP Process: Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP) is a transaction where the buyer transfers cash and the seller transfers the physical asset. This is opposite to traditional futures contracts where the physical asset isn’t usually transferred until the contract expires.

2. Flexibility: EFPs provide traders with more flexibility. They allow investors to switch positions from the cash market to the futures market without having to go through the traditional execution process. This switch can occur at any time and any place, regardless of whether the futures exchange is open or not.

3. Risk Management: EFPs are also crucial for risk management. They offer a unique way to manage risk in volatile markets. By converting a physical asset into a futures contract, the investor can protect against potential losses that might occur due to changes in the price of the underlying asset.


The Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP) is a crucial term in business/finance as it provides investors the flexibility to swap their positions between futures contract and the physical commodity that it represents. It is important because it allows investors to efficiently manage their risk, hedge their positions, and potentially lock in profit without having the obligation to go through traditional buy/sell transactions. EFP also helps facilitate smoother price discovery and increases market liquidity by enabling simultaneous trading in both futures and physical markets. It’s especially beneficial for businesses dealing with physical commodities, enabling them to better align their trading strategies with operational needs. Hence, EFP is a fundamental aspect of advanced financial strategy in the commodities market.


The Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP) is primarily used in commodity markets as a vital mechanism for traders and investors to manage risk. The purpose of EFP is to allow the simultaneous transfer of an opposite position in physical assets and its corresponding futures contracts, providing a means to switch seamlessly between the cash and futures markets. By executing an EFP, market participants can effectively reshape their risk profile, manage their physical stock position and synchronize their hedging strategy without troubling the overall liquidity of the market.Use of EFP offers significant benefits such as administrative convenience, regulatory compliance and increased flexibility. For instance, commodity-dependent businesses may use EFP to stabilize prices and protect against undesirable price fluctuation. For example, a grain elevator (who has physical ownership of the grain) that has sold futures contracts to establish a price may use an EFP to deliver the actual grain to a cereal company and offset its futures position simultaneously. Overall, the EFP is a versatile tool in financial markets, providing market participants the ability to meet their unique risk management and operational needs.


1. Oil Industry: A petroleum production company anticipates that they will be extracting a certain quantity of crude oil over the next several months. To hedge against the fluctuation of petroleum prices in the market, they enter into an Exchange of Futures for Physical agreement. They lock in the future sale price by selling futures contracts and then, when they extract the oil, they replace the futures contracts with the physical oil. 2. Agriculture Industry: A farmer knows that his crops will be ready for harvest in six months. To secure his income, he enters into an EFP agreement by selling futures contracts for his crops. Once the crops are ready for sale, he replaces the futures contracts with the physical crops.3. Metal Trading: A metal mining company anticipates the production of a substantial amount of gold to be available for sale within several months. To avoid potential gold market price falls, they execute an EFP. They sell gold futures and replace them with the physical gold when it becomes available. In this way, they can lock in profits and effectively manage risk.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP)?

An Exchange of Futures for Physical is a private agreement between two parties to trade a futures contract for the actual physical commodity or asset. It is a key instrument that connects the futures market with the spot or physical market.

In which markets is EFP used commonly?

EFP is commonly used in many markets including commodities, stock indices, interest rates, currencies, and energies.

Who are the usual parties involved in an EFP transaction?

EFP transactions are typically arranged between commercial market participants and done away from the trading floor or electronic trading system.

How does an EFP transaction benefit the participants?

EFP transactions provide participants with flexibility in terms of delivery date, location, quality, and quantity of the commodity, which cannot be achieved with standard futures contracts.

Are EFP transactions regulated?

Yes, EFP transactions are regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the United States, and similar regulatory bodies in other countries.

Is an Exchange of Futures for Physical (EFP) the same as a physical delivery?

No, EFP is not the same as physical delivery. With EFP, the two parties privately agree to exchange a futures contract for a physical asset, whereas with physical delivery, the holder of a futures contract can request delivery of the underlying asset when the futures contract expires.

How is the price determined in EFP transactions?

The price in an EFP transaction is determined by the two parties involved, generally based on the current market price but tailored to specific details of the physical commodity being traded.

Can EFP transactions help in risk management?

Yes, EFP can be a useful tool to manage price risk, as it permits businesses to lock in prices for future use of a commodity, therefore providing a layer of protection against price fluctuations.

Do EFP transactions need to be reported to an exchange?

Yes, while EFP transactions are privately negotiated off the exchange, they do need to be reported to the exchange and are subject to specific exchange rules.

Can all futures contracts be exchanged for physicals?

Not all futures contracts can be exchanged for physicals. It depends on the rules of the specific futures contract; some contracts allow EFP transactions while others do not.

Related Finance Terms

  • Commodities
  • Derivative Instruments
  • Physical Delivery
  • Futures Contract
  • Financial Markets

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