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Definition: Forward contract


A forward contract is an unconditional financial contract that represents an obligation for settlement on a specified date. Futures and other forward contracts are typically, but not always, settled by the payment of cash or the provision of some other financial instrument rather than the actual delivery of the underlying item and therefore are valued and traded separately from the underlying item.

This definition is used both in SNA 1993 (§ 11.37) and in SNA 2008 (§ 11.120). United Nations, "System of National Accounts (SNA) 1993", United Nations, New York, 1993
European Commission (Eurostat), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations (Statistics Division), World Bank, "System of National Accounts 2008", United Nations, New York, 2009