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What amount of my margins can I use to trade in Future and Option

03 Jul 2023


Determining the margins to use for trading in Futures and Options (F&O) is crucial for traders. This helps maximise their trading potential while effectively managing risks. F&O trading allows individuals to enter into derivative contracts based on underlying assets, such as stocks, indices, or commodities. These investments provide plenty of opportunities for speculation and hedging.

Understanding the concept of margins and their significance for F&O trading is essential. Margins act as collateral or security for potential losses incurred in trading positions. Margins that a trader can use depends on various factors, including regulatory requirements, exchange rules, and individual risk appetite. Read on to learn more.

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Understanding margins in F&O Trading

Before delving into the details of margins that can be used for F&O trading, let's first understand what margins are. In F&O trading, margin refers to the money or securities you must deposit with your broker to initiate and maintain your positions. These margins act as collateral and protect the broker against potential losses.

What are initial margins?

Futures and options demand an upfront margin deposit. The margin is usually a percentage of the contract value and depends on the securities and market circumstances. The initial margin protects the broker against losses.

What are exposure margins?

The exchange exposure margin takes into account the inherent volatility of the market and acts as a buffer against price fluctuations. The proportion of the exposure margin to the contract value is determined by the prevailing market conditions.

What is the SPAN Margin?

Stock exchanges compute F&O margins using the SPAN (Standardised Portfolio Analysis of Risk) margin. It considers price changes, volatility, and contract correlations. The SPAN margin adapts to prevailing market conditions.

How to determine the amount of margins for F&O trading?

Let's explore how the amount of your available margins is determined for F&O trading.

  1. Position value and margin requirements: F&O margins rely on position value. The margin requirement depends on each F&O contract's lot size and market price. Margin is generally a percentage of the contract value.
  1. Leverage and margin utilisation: F&O trading leverages funds to control a huge stake. The leverage ratio limits exposure to margin. With a given margin, a larger leverage ratio lets you take a bigger stake.
  1. Broker's margin policy: F&O margins vary by broker. The margin policy covers regulatory requirements, risk management, and broker recommendations. Some brokers have stricter margin requirements than the exchange.
  1. Maintenance margins and margin calls: F&O trading requires startup and maintenance margins. Maintenance margins are required to preserve your positions. If your account margin exceeds the maintenance margin threshold, your broker may ask for more funds or to liquidate holdings.

What is the importance of risk management in margin utilization?

Now it's time to understand the importance of risk management for margin usage in F&O trading.

  • Understanding risk: Understanding the risks before using margins for F&O trading. Market swings can cause significant losses in F&O trading. Evaluate your risk tolerance and create a financial goal-aligned risk management strategy.
  • Setting stop-loss orders: Implementing stop-loss orders can help limit potential losses. Setting a predetermined price level to exit a trade can protect your margins from excessive erosion in adverse market movements.
  • Diversification: F&O diversification reduces risk. Instead of investing all your margins into one transaction, spread them among sectors or instruments. This way, gains from other positions can offset losses from one.
  • Monitoring margin levels: Monitor your trading account margins and maintain your risk tolerance by monitoring margin usage.


F&O trading margins rely on initial margin, exposure margin, SPAN margin, position value, leverage, broker's margin policy, and maintenance margins. To manage margin obligations and make smart trading decisions, examine these considerations. F&O trading requires knowing your risk tolerance and financial capabilities.

If the market turns against you, high leverage or risking a large amount of your margins might result in large losses. Hence, care and a risk management technique that matches your trading goals are advised.


Related Articles: How to Make Money In F&O Trading | Know About Future & Options Span Margin Calculator | Check The Futures Spread Over Spot Before Trading | Truth About Future and Options Trading












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