Forward Contract Law and Legal Definition

Forward Contract is a privately negotiated non-standardized contract between two parties to buy or sell an asset at a specified future time at a price agreed today. This is in contrast to a spot contract, which is an agreement to buy or sell an asset today. It costs nothing to enter a forward contract. The party agreeing to buy the underlying asset in the future assumes a long position, and the party agreeing to sell the asset in the future assumes a short position. The price agreed upon is called the delivery price, which is equal to the forward price at the time the contract is entered into. Further, the two parties must bear each other's credit risk, which is not the case with a futures contract. Also, since the contracts are not exchange traded, there is no marking to market requirement, which allows a buyer to avoid almost all capital outflow initially. The forward price is the agreed upon price of an asset in a forward contract.