What Are Commodities?

Although “commodity trading” is often used to describe all types of futures markets, commodities are more specifically known as physical assets. They include natural resources, chemicals and physical products you can touch, taste, smell, grow, mine, consume or deliver. Corn, gold, crude oil and coffee.

History of Commodity Exchanges

Futures trading initially developed to help agricultural producers and consumers manage price risks associated with harvesting, marketing and processing food crops. The nation’s largest commodity trading exchanges were formed in the 1800s and still serve those needs, among others, today.

Types of Commodity Futures

Commodities encompass a broad spectrum of consumable goods and materials whose price fluctuations are primarily driven by supply and demand factors. The most popular commodity futures can be broken down into several broad categories: metals, energy, grains, livestock, and food and fiber.

Participants in Commodities Markets

Participants in commodities markets fall under two main categories — hedgers and speculators. While hedgers seek to minimize and manage price risk, speculators are those willing to take on risk in the hope of making a profit.

What Commodities Can I Trade?

Within this section you’ll find a list of commodity futures contracts available to trade and the exchanges where they are listed.

How Are Commodities Traded?

While every individual has their own unique approach to trading commodities, decisions are generally based on fundamental or technical analysis, or a combination of both. More.

Basics of Crude Oil Markets

If you’d like to know more about the energy markets specifically, “Oil Market Basics,” an online course brought to you by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, offers a more detailed look at this dynamic market.

More About Commodity Trading

Here you’ll find additional resources to help you explore the commodities and commodity option markets further. ACA clients also enjoy special rates to several independent research services that cover commodities.