# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Spot Price

Written By
Paul Tracy
Updated September 30, 2020

What is a Spot Price?

The spot price is the current market price at which an asset is bought or sold for immediate payment and delivery.  It is differentiated from the forward price or the futures price, which are prices at which an asset can be bought or sold for delivery in the future.

How Does a Spot Price Work?

On November 29, 2010, the spot price of gold was $1,367.40 per ounce on the New York Commodities Exchange (COMEX).  That was the price at which one ounce of gold could be purchased at that particular moment in time.  The spot price for a bushel of wheat was about $648 on the same day.

On November 29, 2010, the futures price for an ounce of gold to be delivered in December 2011 was $1,373.20.  The futures price for December 2011 delivery of a bushel of wheat was about $764.

Large differences between the spot price and the futures price can exist because the market is always trying to look ahead to predict what prices will be. Futures prices can be either higher or lower than spot prices, depending on the outlook for supply and demand of the asset in the future.

Why Does a Spot Price Matter?

The spot price is important in and of itself because it is the price at which buyers and sellers agree to value an asset. But spot price becomes an even more important concept when it's viewed through the eyes of the $3 trillion derivatives market.

Spot prices are continually changing -- they fluctuate according to varying supply and demand. To mitigate the risk of continuously changing prices, investors created derivatives. Derivatives such as forwards, futures and options allow buyers and sellers to "lock in" the price at which they buy or sell an asset in the future. Locking in prices with derivatives is one of the most common ways investors reduce risk.
 

Ask an Expert about Spot Price
At InvestingAnswers, all of our content is verified for accuracy by Paul Tracy and our team of certified financial experts. We pride ourselves on quality, research, and transparency, and we value your feedback. Below you'll find answers to some of the most common reader questions about Spot Price.
Be the first to ask a question

If you have a question about Spot Price, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question

Paul has been a respected figure in the financial markets for more than two decades. Prior to starting InvestingAnswers, Paul founded and managed one of the most influential investment research firms in America, with more than 2 million monthly readers.

If you have a question about Spot Price, then please ask Paul.

Ask a question Read more from Paul

Read this next

Paul Tracy - profile
Ask an Expert about Spot Price

By submitting this form you agree with our Privacy Policy

Share
close
Don't Know a Financial Term?
Search our library of 4,000+ terms