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I see that the minimum tick for the micro emini futures contract (MES) is .25 (according to the page on CME's website here). I see a lot of changes in the price that are equal to half of that, though.

  • What are the requirements that one must have in order to have access to this privilege?
  • What is the ability to trade at this increased granularity called?
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  • $\begingroup$ Have you verified whether these are trade prices, or midquotes? If the spread increases from 1-tick to 2 ticks by (e.g. ) the ask increasing, then the midquote would appear to move up by 1/2 tick. Trades can (as far as I know) only occur on ticks. Put more simply, look at actual bid/ask prices and see if this behavior still persists. $\endgroup$ – Tyler Olsen Apr 19 '20 at 1:42
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(copying my comment on the original question, since it seems to have solved the problem)

Have you verified whether these are trade prices, or midquotes? If the spread increases from 1-tick to 2 ticks by (e.g. ) the ask increasing, then the midquote would appear to move up by 1/2 tick. Trades can (as far as I know) only occur on ticks. Put more simply, look at actual bid/ask prices and see if this behavior still persists.

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The tick size is whatever the exchange says it is. That said, there are some contracts where the tick size can change over the lifetime of the contract. If so, it should be stated in the contract specification which the exchange provides.

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  • $\begingroup$ In principle "Block trades", which are large trades that occur off the exchange but are reported to the exchange can also be at price increments smaller than a tick. However the MES micro emini are specifically ineligible for block trading according to the CME web site. $\endgroup$ – noob2 Apr 19 '20 at 12:47
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    $\begingroup$ If you can execute block trades off exchange, then the contract specification should also state that. It might not be easy to find, but it will be there, somewhere... $\endgroup$ – ThatDataGuy Apr 19 '20 at 12:50

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