Commodity futures definition, how they work, examples z gas guatemala


Trading in commodity futures and options contracts is very complicated and risky. Commodities prices are very volatile. The market is rife with fraudulent activities. If you aren’t completely sure of what you are doing, you can lose more than your initial investment.

Commodities futures accurately assess the price of raw materials because they trade on an open market. They also forecast the value of the commodity into the future. The values are set by traders and their analysts. They spend all day every day researching their particular commodity. Forecasts instantly incorporate each day’s news. For example, if Iran threatens to close the Strait of Hormuz, the commodities prices will change dramatically.

Sometimes commodities futures reflect the emotion of the trader or the market more than supply and demand. Speculators bid up prices to make a profit if a crisis occurs and they anticipate a shortage. When other traders see that the price of a commodity is skyrocketing, they create a bidding war.

Also, commodities are traded in U.S. dollars. There is an inverse relationship between the dollar and commodities. As the value of the dollar increases, the price of commodities falls. That’s because traders can get the same amount of commodities for less money. Examples

Oil. Traders take into account all information about oil supply and demand, as well as geopolitical considerations. This affects oil prices. It is these assumptions behind oil prices that affect the economy so significantly. That’s because the price of oil impacts every good and service produced in America.

The Energy Information Administration reported that oil consumption decreased from 86.66 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 85.73 million bpd in the second quarter 2008. During this same period, supply rose 85.49 million bpd to 86.17 million bpd. According to the laws of supply and demand, prices should have decreased. Instead, prices rose almost 25 percent by May, from $87.79 to $110.21 per barrel of oil.

The EIA reported that the "flow of investment money into commodities markets" caused the trend. Traders diverted money from real estate or stocks into oil futures. Later that year, frenzied commodities traders drove the price up to its all-time high of $145 a barrel.

In 2011, oil prices didn’t start rising until May, sending gas prices up immediately. That was a result of traders anticipating higher oil and gas prices due to higher demand from the summer driving season. Oil makes up 72 percent of the price of gas. When oil prices rise, it shows up in gas prices three to six weeks later. The pricing trends in commodities trading reflect how crude oil prices affect gas prices.

In 2012, Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most strategic oil shipping lanes. Traders worried that a potential closure of the Strait would limit oil supplies. They bid up oil prices in March, sending gas prices higher in April.

Metals. In 2011, gold hit an all-time high of $1,895 an ounce. Demand and supply hadn’t changed, but traders bid up gold prices in response to fears of ongoing economic uncertainty. Gold is often bought in times of trouble because many people see it as a safe haven. Gold prices reflect the U.S. economy. An increase in gold investments, which consequently drives gold prices up, could indicate that the economy is doing poorly. On the other hand, a decrease in gold prices could signify some health gains for the economy.

Supply and demand had some impact as well. In 2015, China’s economy started slowing, reducing demand for copper. As part of its economic reforms, China was shifting from construction to consumer spending. It wanted to rely less on exports and more on domestic demand. That further reduced the need for copper, since housing construction uses a lot more copper than consumer products. China’s construction industry had used 3 million to 4 million tons a year. That’s equal to what was used by the entire economies of the United States, Japan, Canada, and Mexico combined.

At the same time, China added to the supply of commodities, further lowering prices. In 2014, the country produced 52 percent of global aluminum. It boosted that amount in 2015, adding 10 percent to supply. That’s according to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, "Metal Meltdown," published October 11, 2015.

Food. In 2008, commodities traders created high food prices. That led to riots in less-developed countries. First, traders diverted funds from the failing stock market into wheat, corn, and other commodities. Second, they also diverted funds into oil prices. They created higher distribution costs for food.