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What is a commodity?

A commodity is a product having commercial value that can be produced, bought, sold, and consumed.

What is a Derivative contract & Commodity future?

A derivative contract is an enforceable agreement whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset; the underlying asset can be a commodity, precious metal,currency, bond, stock, or, indices of commodities, stocks etc.Four most common examples of derivative instruments are forwards, futures, options and swaps/spreads. Commodity future is a contract to buy or sell specific commodity, of a specific quality, at a specific price, for a specific future date on the exchange.

What is a forward contract?

A forward contract is a legally enforceable agreement for delivery of goods or the underlying asset on a specific date in future at a price agreed on the date of contract. Under Forward Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1952, all the contracts for delivery of goods, which are settled by payment of money difference or where delivery and payment is made after a period of 11 days, are forward contracts.

What is a futures contract?

Futures Contract is a type of forward contract. Futures are exchange traded contracts to sell or buy standardized financial instruments or physical commodities for delivery on a specified future date at an agreed price. Futures contracts are used generally for protecting against rich of adverse price fluctuation i.e. hedging.

How are futures prices determined?

Futures prices evolve from the interaction of bids and offers emanating from all over the country which converge in the trading floor or the trading engine. The bid and offer prices are based on the expectations of prices on the maturity date.

What is long position?

In simple terms, long position is a net bought position.

What is short position?

In simple terms, short position is net sold position.

What is the difference between spot market and futures market?

In a spot market, commodities are physically bought or sold usually on a negotiable basis resulting in delivery. While in the futures markets, commodities can be bought or sold irrespective of the physical possession of the underlying commodity. The futures market trades in standardized contractual agreements of the underlying asset with specific quality, quantity, and mode of delivery whose settlement is guaranteed by regulated commodity exchanges.

What is a Commodity Exchange?

As in capital markets, a commodity exchange is an association or a company or any other body corporate that is organizing futures trading in commodities and is registered with FMC (Forward Market Commission). Two major national level commodities exchanges are Multi Commodities Exchange of India (MCX), National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange of India (NCDEX).

Who regulates the commodity exchanges in India?

Commodity Market in India is regulated by Forward Market Commission (FMC) under the guidance of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, & Public Distribution.

What are the benefits of futures trading in commodities?

The biggest advantage of trading in commodity futures is price risk management and price discovery. Farmers can protect themselves against undesirable price movements and decide upon cropping pattern. The merchandisers avoid price risk. Processors keep control on raw material cost and decreasing inventory values. International traders also can lock in their prices.

What is hedging?

Hedging means taking a position in the futures or options market that is opposite to a position in the physical market. It reduces or limits risks associated with unpredictable changes in price. The objective behind this mechanism is to offset a loss in one market with a gain in another.

What is arbitrage in commodity markets?

Arbitrage is making purchases and sales simultaneously in two different markets to profit from the price differences prevailing in those markets. The factors driving arbitrage are the real or perceived differences in the equilibrium price as determined by supply and demand at various locations.

What are warehouse receipts?

It is a document issued by a warehouse indicating ownership of a stored commodity and specifying details in respect of some particulars, like, quality, quantity and, some times, indicating the crop season. The original depositor or the holder in due course can claim the commodities from the warehouse by producing the warehouse receipt.

Is an ISIN number also allotted to commodity like in equities?

Yes, the identifier is called as ICIN. Depending on the type of commodity, grade, validity, expiry date, name & location of warehouse, the exchanges allot ICIN to each commodity. ICIN differs from exchange to exchange.

What is Mark-to-market (MTM)?

Mark-to-market margins (MTM or M2M) are payable based on closing prices at the end of each trading day. These margins will be paid by the buyer if the price declines and by the seller if the price rises. This margin is worked out on difference between the closing/clearing rate and the rate of the contract (if it is entered into on that day) or the previous day's clearing rate. The Exchange collects these margins from buyers if the prices decline and pays to the sellers and vice versa.

Can I take delivery of the commodity? If yes, how can I do the same?

settlement takes place either through squaring off your position or by cash settlement or physical delivery. Squaring off is taking a opposite position to the initial stance, which means in the case of an original buy contract an investor would have to take a sell contract.
An investor who intends to give or take delivery would have to inform his broker of the same prior to the start of delivery period. In case of delivery, a warehouse receipt is provided. Delivery is at the option of the seller; a buyer can take delivery only in case of a willing seller. All unmatched/rejected/excess positions are cash settled; all open positions for which no delivery information is submitted are also cash settled. Under cash settlement, the difference between the contract price and settlement price is to be paid or received.
In online commodity trading, client can not go for delivery & all positions are cash settled.

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