Using the language of the London Stock Exchange, ‘backwardation’ is a fee paid by a seller of stocks (or securities) to the buyer for the privilege of deferring delivery of them. Hence it means that the futures price (i.e. the current price for the future delivery) falls short of the spot price (i.e. the current price of immediate delivery). ‘Contango’, the reverse of backwardation, is a fee paid by the buyer who wants to postpone delivery, and means that the futures price exceeds the spot price. These terms may be extended to any futures transaction.
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