Yes, We Speak in Code

When new to futures or new to specific futures markets, it can be tricky finding the right codes.

For futures codes on CQG, codes are in the format market month year – without the spaces. So December Crude is:


CLE = code for Nymex crude, (the E mean electronic)

Z = standard futures code for Dec expiry

7 = short for 2017

This is the format that is use in most systems with occasional slight variations. For example, eSignal’s code for the same market is CL Z7 (no E and a space between market and month).

Now, for CQG, you can just type in CLE and exclude the month and year. This will bring up the most active contact. It’s a nice little feature to quickly hop between charts.

As for the Z in December, here is the guide for all months:

I’m not sure how they came up with those letters, but you can see it loosely follow the alphabet, forgetting a few letters along the way.

Regarding codes for specific markets, they are a few ways you can find out:

  • Go to the exchange website and search for Contract Specifications. This will have to standard contract codes which will be the same or similar to the codes on your charting system.
  • For example, the exchange code for Crude Oil is CL – CQG add and E for electronic, so it’s CLE. For Gold, the exchange code is GC, on CQG, it’s GCE. See the pattern?
    In CQG itself, use the CSpec function as shown below. That’s even easier that the above approach.