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Hundredweight (Cwt)


Hundredweight (Cwt) is a standard measurement used in trading and measuring commodities. In the United States, a hundredweight is equivalent to 100 pounds. However, in the United Kingdom, a hundredweight is 112 pounds.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Hundredweight (Cwt)” is: “ˈhʌndrədweɪt (sɪˈwiːti)”

Key Takeaways

  1. Hundredweight, abbreviated as Cwt, is a traditional unit of weight used in commerce. It has different standard values in various systems, notably British Imperial and American customary systems.
  2. In the British Imperial system, a Hundredweight is equivalent to 112 pounds (approximately 50.802 kg). Often referred to as the “long hundredweight” , it is largely used in agriculture and commodity trading.
  3. In contrast, in the American customary system, a Hundredweight is equivalent to 100 pounds (approximately 45.359 kg). Known as the “short hundredweight” , this variant is commonly used in the United States in agricultural markets, as well as for measuring paper and other such commodities.


The term Hundredweight (Cwt) is significant in business and finance as it’s an important unit of measurement for commodities in agriculture, manufacturing, or other industries where bulk goods are dealt with. It is commonly used in the trading of resources such as grain, oil, livestock, and more on various commodities exchanges. Utilizing a standardized measurement like the hundredweight allows for easier price listing, cost calculation, and overall market understanding, contributing to a more organized and efficient trading system. Differences in how the hundredweight is defined in different countries (100 pounds in the US and 112 pounds in the UK) can also influence international trade and pricing strategies.


Hundredweight (Cwt) is a standard unit of weight primarily used in commerce, trading, and shipping industries, with its primary purpose being to facilitate the measurement and comparison of quantities for large-volume commodities. It ensures a uniform scale for the weight of these goods, making transactions more straightforward and transparent. Cwt is extensively used in the agriculture sector for trading commodities like grain, livestock, or even key industrial products like paper, where the volume of trade is usually on a large scale. The use of Hundredweight (Cwt) as a measurement not only simplifies business but also affects how companies strategize their pricing decisions and profitability calculations. By following this standard universal weight measure, businesses can efficiently analyze their inventory levels, optimize their supply chain, and accurately calculate transport costs. Furthermore, the use of Cwt also plays a vital role in commodity futures contracts, where the prices are usually quoted per hundredweight to standardize the trading process. Without a standard method of weight like Cwt, the trading of these large commodities could become confusing and disorganized.


1. Agriculture Industry: In the agriculture sector, hundredweight is often used to measure the weight of certain crops, livestock, and other agricultural products. For example, a farmer who harvests 1,500 pounds of corn can communicate his yields as 15 hundredweight. Large quantities of agricultural products are often bought and sold in hundredweight measurements.2. Shipping/Freight Industry: The shipping or freight industry often uses the hundredweight measurement to calculate shipping rates. For instance, if a business needs to ship multiple heavy items, the total weight may be calculated in hundredweight to determine the cost. If a package weighs 200 pounds, it would be measured as 2 Cwt. This could then be used to calculate the shipping cost.3. Industrial/Construction Material: The use of hundredweight is particularly common in industries that deal with large amounts of heavyweight materials. For example, a construction company may purchase steel in measurements of hundredweight. The company could purchase 5 Cwt of steel for a building project, equating to 500 pounds of steel.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Hundredweight (Cwt)?

Hundredweight (Cwt) refers to a unit of measurement often used in trading commodities contracts.

How is Hundredweight expressed in the United States and the United Kingdom?

In the United States, a hundredweight is considered to be equal to 100 pounds. However, in the United Kingdom, a hundredweight equals 112 pounds.

What is the significance of Hundredweight (Cwt) in finance and business?

Hundredweight (Cwt) is typically used in finance and business as a unit of measure for trading certain commodities including tobacco, grains, livestock, and more.

When is Hundredweight (Cwt) commonly used?

Hundredweight (Cwt) is commonly used in futures contracts denoting the deliverable volume when the future expires.

What is Short Hundredweight?

Short hundredweight, often used in the US, refers to a unit of 100 pounds.

What is Long Hundredweight?

Long hundredweight, popular in the UK, refers to a unit of 112 pounds.

How are the abbreviations for Hundredweight (Cwt) utilized?

In business term conversations, you might see: Cwt for Hundredweight, sCwt for Short Hundredweight, and lCwt for Long Hundredweight.

Can Hundredweight (Cwt) be converted to other types of measurements?

Yes, Hundredweight can be converted to other types of measurements. For instance, in the United States, one short hundredweight equals 45.3592 Kilograms, whereas in the UK, one long hundredweight is approximately 50.802 Kilograms.

What industries primarily use Hundredweight (Cwt)?

The agricultural industry especially uses the term extensively, but also it’s used in trading for commodities and futures contracts.

Is Hundredweight (Cwt) a globally standardized measurement?

No, it’s not a globally standardized measurement and it varies in meaning between countries, primarily between the US and the UK. It is therefore important to be aware of the context when using this term.

Related Finance Terms

  • Freight Rate: The price at which a certain cargo is delivered from one point to another.
  • Commodities: Basic goods used in commerce that are interchangeable with other goods of the same type.
  • Imperial System: A system of weights and measures originally developed in the United Kingdom-Britain which uses units such as pound, ounce, yard, mile and hundredweight (cwt).
  • Short Ton: A unit of weight, primarily used in the United States, which is equivalent to 2,000 pounds or approximately 0.907 metric tons, and is 20 hundredweight (cwt) in the US system.
  • Long Ton: A unit of weight primarily used in the UK, equivalent to 2,240 pounds or approximately 1.016 metric tons and is 20 hundredweight (cwt) in the UK system.

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