Margin Requirements: Pre-RTH vs. RTH Sessions Explained

Hello, I’m looking for some clarity on initial/maintenance/day trading margins. The specific scenario I’m considering is when a position is opened prior to RTH but is closed within the day session (not held overnight).

For example, enter 1 contract in MES at 8:00AM CT which will be closed prior to 3:00PM CT. Initial margin is ~$1,050, when RTH begins at 8:30AM CT, does the margin being used change to the day trading margin of ~$40 allowing increased leverage in the account, or does the margin on the position remain ~$1,050 until it is closed.

Hello @MWG86,

Welcome back to the Optimus community forum!

For this explanation, I’ll be using exchange rules that most FCMs we work with follow:

Day trading margins for indices like ES and MES are available almost 23 hours per day.
Our Policy 5PM EDT/5PM CST until 4:45 EDT/3:45 CST

Per Your Specific Question:
Positions established at 8:00 AM CT have day trading margins applied until the market close at 4 PM CT.
If positions are held past 4 PM CT, initial margin is required

By default, when you open an account through our link: Open a Futures Trading Account | Optimus Futures, the above rules for 23-hour day trading margins will apply. However, please note that if you choose “other FCMs,” different rules may apply due to varying policies among FCMs.

I hope this helps clarify the margin policies for amateur traders. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Optimus Futures Support

Thanks @Mod-JakeM, this is very helpful. One follow-up question, on your margin page there are day trading margins for all products except the energies and a few metals. Is this treatment due to current volatility in these products or something else?

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Hello @MWG86,

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We will definitely take your suggestions into consideration.

It’s important to note that the energy sector, along with all Futures and Physical commodities, can experience high volatility and gaps. This is why FCM and risk departments pay extra attention to physical commodities like oil, which can experience significant gaps between sessions. Additionally, they have lower liquidity compared to stock indices, which means that major news and players can cause significant price movements. In summary, margins on physical commodities, such as crude oil, can fluctuate more than others and sometimes even go up to 100% or more.

Please feel free to contact us and we will adjust the margins on the contracts as needed.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures