A well-developed and effective commodity futures market, unlike physical market, facilitates offsetting the transactions without impacting on physical goods until the expiry of a contract. Futures market attracts hedgers who minimise their risks, and encourages competition from other traders who possess mark information and price judgment. While hedgers have long-term perspective of the market, the traders, or arbitragers as they are often called, hold an immediate view of the market. A large number of different market players participate in buying and selling activities in the market based on diverse domestic and global information, such as price, demand and supply, climatic conditions and other market related information. All these factors put together result in efficient price discovery as a result of large number of buyers and sellers transacting in the futures market.
Futures market, as observed from the cross-country experience of active commodity futures markets, helps in efficient price discovery of the respective commodities and does not impair the long-run equilibrium price of commodities. At times, however, price behaviour of a commodity in the futures market might show some aberrations reacting to the element of speculation and ‘bandwagon effect’ inherent in any market, but it quickly reverts to long-run equilibrium price, as information flows in, reflecting fundamentals of the respective commodity. In futures market, speculators play a role in providing liquidity to the markets and may sometimes benefit from price movements, but do not have a systematic causal influence on prices.
Commodity markets are markets where raw or primary products are exchanged. These raw commodities are traded on regulated commodity exchanges, in which they are bought and sold in standardized contracts. This article focuses on the history and current debates regarding global commodity markets. It covers physical product (food, metals, and electricity) markets but not the ways that services, including those of governments, nor investment, nor debt, can be seen as a commodity. Articles on reinsurance markets, stock markets, bond markets and currency markets cover those concerns separately and in more depth. One focus of this article is the relationship between simple commodity money and the more complex instruments offered in the commodity markets.
The modern commodity markets have their roots in the trading of agricultural products. While wheat and corn, cattle and pigs, were widely traded using standard instruments in the 19th century in the United States, other basic food stuffs such as soybeans were only added quite recently in most markets. For a commodity market to be established there must be very broad consensus on the variations in the product that make it acceptable for one purpose or another. The economic impact of the development of commodity markets is hard to overestimate. Through the 19th century "the exchanges became effective spokesmen for, and innovators of, improvements in transportation, warehousing, and financing, which paved the way to expanded interstate and international trade. Early history of commodity markets Commodity money and commodity markets in a crude early form are believed to have originated in Sumer where small baked clay tokens in the shape of sheep or goats were used in trade. Sealed in clay vessels with a certain number of such tokens, with that number written on the outside, they represented a promise to deliver that number. This made them a form of commodity money - more than an I.O.U. but less than a guarantee by a nation-state or bank. However, they were also known to contain promises of time and date of delivery - this made them like a modern futures contract. Regardless of the details, it was only possible to verify the number of tokens inside by shaking the vessel or by...
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