A financial contract between two people or two parties that has a value determined by the price of something else (called the underlying).
The term 'Derivatives' indicates it derives its value from some underlying i.e. it has no independent value. Underlying can be securities, stock market index, commodities, bullion, currency or anything else. From Currency Derivatives market point of view, underlying would be the Currency Exchange rate. Derivatives are unique product, which helps in hedging the portfolio against the future risk. At the same time, derivatives are used constructively for arbitrage and speculation too.
A Currency exchange rate enabled for trading on futures is called an "Underlying" e.g. USDINR. There may be various tradable contracts for the same underlying based on its different expiration period. For example FUT-USDINR-27-Aug-2009, FUT-USDINR-28-Sep-2009 and FUT-USDINR-28-Oct-2009 are "contracts" available for trading in currency futures having USDINR Exchange rate as "underlying".
USDINR future contract expiring on 27 Aug, 2009 is defined as "FUT-USDINR-27-Aug- 2009". Wherein, "Fut" stands for Futures as currency derivatives product, "USDINR" for underlying currency exchange rate and "27-Aug-2009" for the expiry date.
No. You will be required to place a certain % of order value as margin, while placing a buy/sell position in Currency Futures. With Currency Futures trading, you can leverage on your trading limit by taking buy/sell positions much more than what you could have taken in the Spot market. However, the risk profile of your transactions goes up.
Spread involving options of the same underlying, with same strike prices, but with different expiration months is known as Calendar Spread. They can be created with either all calls or all puts. E.g., you take Buy position for 1 lot of FUT-USDINR-28-Sep-2010 @ Rs.50 and sell position for 1 lot of FUT-USDINR-28-Oct-2010 @ Rs.51. 1 lot of buy position in FUT- USDINR-27-Sep-2010 and 1 lot of sell position in FUT-USDINR-28-Oct-2010 form a spread against each other and hence are called "Spread Position".