(1) Refers to actual physical commodities, as distinguished from the futures on those commodities. So, for example, there is a “spot” market for gold which shows the actual trading of gold day-to-day and there is a “futures” market for gold contracts where the gold is due to be delivered on specific future dates usually at the end of each quarter. So, there will be a price for gold to be delivered at the end of March, June, September and December. (2) An actual figure as compared with a forecast. Thus, for example, in cost accounting, there would be a forecast of the sales of a particular division which would then be compared with the “actuals” for the same period in order to arrive at various types of “variance” (i.e. those arising from differences in volume, price or mix of products sold).

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