What Is Spot?

1/1/2016

Spot as it is applies to commodities, is a benchmark to establish a base for pricing products. In the US, precious metals are bought and sold on the commodity exchange (COMEX) as contracts. Each type of standard precious metal contract is a requisite size to execute (buy or sell) - gold is 100 oz., platinum is 50 oz., palladium is 100 oz., and silver is 5000 oz.*   

The term Spot is short for Spot or Current Month Contract and means, the price is for immediate delivery of the respective commodity. Simply put, the 'right now' price for 'right now' delivery.
As opposed to a Futures Contract, which means there is speculation as to what the price may be in the future for future delivery. For the purpose of the Precious Metals 101 Series, we will only be concerned with Spot prices.

COMEX precious metals markets are actively traded 8:20 am to 2:30 pm in New York Eastern Time.  The price you see published in your daily newspaper is the previous day's closing price. It's alright to use this price to get an idea of where the markets are trending, but not for getting a 'right now' price. To get current active prices, one may call their broker or access numerable websites or applications.  

  • * Mini Contracts are available, but not applicable for this article