scorecardresearchExplainer | Traders in a Commodity Market

Explainer | Traders in a Commodity Market

Updated: 04 Mar 2022, 08:43 AM IST
TL;DR.
In a commodities market, the two basic types of traders are hedgers and speculators. Hedgers attempt to eliminate the volatility associated with an asset's price, whereas speculators profit from the way an item is traded. Read on to know more about the traders in a commodity market.
Hedgers and speculators are the two main kinds of tradesmen in a commodity market.

Hedgers and speculators are the two main kinds of tradesmen in a commodity market.

A commodity market is a platform for basic or primary goods to be purchased, sold and traded. Hedgers and speculators are the two main kinds of tradesmen in a commodity market. Aside from both being very advanced methods, speculating and hedging are rather different and they strive to achieve quite different goals.

Speculation includes trying to earn a profit from a security's price change, whereas hedging seeks to decrease the amount of risk, or volatility, connected with a security's price change. By countering the present position of an investor, hedging tries to remove the volatility connected with the price of an asset. The main goal of speculating, however, is to take advantage of the way an item is moved.

The interplay of speculators and hedgers makes future markets effective. This efficiency and precision increases as the contract gets closer to the expiration of the supply and demand balance and more information becomes available on what the market demands at the time of delivery. Let us understand the role of hedgers and speculators in detail.

Hedgers

Hedging means a compensatory position (i.e., the opposite) in an investment to balance any profits and losses in the underlying asset (the one that backs the derivative). Hedgers are traders that want to safeguard themselves against the danger of price fluctuations. They are looking for ways of passing this risk on to those ready to bear it. They are so anxious to get rid of pricing uncertainty that they might be even prepared to accomplish it at a preset cost.

Though protected against losses, hedgehogs are limited against any gains as well. The portfolio is diverse, yet systematically exposed. It may opt to hedge from specific business activities to prevent swings in profit and to prevent risk of downside, depending on the policy of a firm and the kind of organisation it operates. In order to reduce these risks, the investor is reinforcing their portfolio by shortening futures markets and purchasing long-term portfolio assets.

A cereal maker, for example, would wish to acquire a futures contract that guarantees delivery of rice in March at a specific price to hedge against rising wheat prices. If the crop is destroyed in February and the spot price rises, the manufacturer can take possession of the rice at the contract price, which is likely to be less than the market price. Alternatively, the manufacturer can sell the contract for more than the purchase price and utilise the extra money to compensate for the higher rice spot price.

Speculators

Speculators are those who examine and predict the flow of future prices, trade contracts that are aimed at profitability. Speculators make a profit by compensating for future contracts to their advantage. In order to do so, a speculator buys contracts and then sells them at a price higher than the contract they bought. In contrast, they sell and purchase contracts back at a lower (contract) price. In each scenario, a profit is generated if the contract is successful.

When speculators predict that prices will fluctuate, they enter the future market. They will not do it without first attempting to find out whether prices are going up or down. Whilst they risk your money, they will not. Speculators examine the market and predict how best they can affect future prices. They may analyse external factors affecting the movement of prices or apply past prices to the current market. The intelligent speculator is not blind, in any case.

A speculator who predicts rising prices would like to profit by purchasing future contracts. If the forecasts are right, futures may be sold for profit later. If prices would be predicted to decline, the speculator would like to sell now and subsequently purchase back at a cheaper price if everything goes as scheduled.

Farmers still trade goods among themselves in villages today. Things are a little different in the realm of organised commodities trade. Commodity trading is gaining popularity among investors again. This trading takes place on a commodities market, where a variety of commodities and derivatives are purchased and sold where in the role of hedgers and speculators is quite diversified.

Hedgers are risk-averse, whereas speculators are risk-lovers. Speculators take chances by observing market movements in order to benefit from changes in the price of assets, whereas hedgers aim to limit the risks associated with uncertainty. Both are swimming against the current of market opinion, but for very different reasons.

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First Published: 03 Mar 2022, 09:25 PM IST